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New Measure Would Place Consumers at Greater Risk of Injury

In the wake of the 2008 lead poisoning scare caused by toys that were made in China, legislators responded by passing the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) - a law that strengthened safety measures designed to keep unsafe toys and other products from being sold to consumers. Additionally, in the event that a consumer is injured by a dangerous product in some way, the law allows the injured to share their complaints and other relevant information with others via the website maintained by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

A new measure, however, would undermine the progress made by CPSIA. The proposed law - Enhancing CPSC Authority and Discretion Act of 2011 (H.R. 1939) -which was sponsored by Representative Mary Bono Mack (R-California), would roll the law's enforcement date back to 2012, as well as limit the products that are covered by the protective measures of the CPSIA.

In addition, H.R. 1939 would limit the kinds of dangerous product complaints that could be made public on the Consumer Product Safety Commission's Web site - restricting posts to those claims that have been verified by the agency.

Although this new measure would limit consumer protection, Representative Joe Barton of Texas told Bloomberg.com that the changes are necessary. "We need to make some common-sense, sensible changes to the CPSC," he said. "We were in the process of creating a regulatory and compliance nightmare."

Consumer advocates, however, say there is nothing commonsensical about these proposed changes to CPSC and CPSIA. "The bill lets big toy manufacturers off the hook when it comes to safety testing. This legislation would mean that, once again, the toy box is a scary place," Ami Gadhia, Policy Counsel for Consumers Union, told Consumer Reports.

Ultimately, if H.B. 1939 passes, consumers will be less protected from product-related injury and less educated about dangerous and defective items. If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product, please contact an experienced attorney to explore your legal remedies.

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