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(Pittsburgh) – America’s children are safer today because of the enactment four years ago of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which was supported by a United Steelworkers (USW) drive to ban lead in imported children’s toys.
“Consumers have the right to know that the toys they give their children aren’t going to harm them,’’ USW International President Leo W. Gerard said in marking today’s fourth anniversary of the act’s passage in 2008.
“Regulatory oversight like the Consumer Product Act protects families from corporations that make profits producing and importing unsafe products,” Gerard added.
The USW was part of a broad coalition that rallied behind the landmark legislation that protects consumers by limiting lead levels in children’s products and creating a consumer complaint database.
USW members lobbied lawmakers, participated in protests and conducted home lead tests on toys to draw attention to the flawed trade deals that allowed the importation of toxic products for children.
Before the CPSIA was enacted, there was no lead limit for children’s products, and standards set in the 1970s for lead in paint and other coatings used in children’s products were unsuitably high at 600 parts per million. The CPSIA gradually reduced limits so that today products designed for children under age 12 must contain no more than 100 ppm.
The CPSIA consumer incident database, available at SaferProducts.gov, allows consumers to share information on the safety of products they use. The database provides consumers with the opportunity to check safety reports before they buy a product and report problems if they end up with something that turns out to be unsafe.
CPSIA also provides funding for the Consumer Product Safety Commission and helps pay for port inspectors who prevent unsafe products from entering the United States.
The USW represents about 850,000 workers in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean in a wide variety of industries, ranging from glassmaking to mining, paper, steel, tire and rubber to the public sector, service and health care industries.
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