US continues product safety crackdown

Senate bill to give CPSC more power and resources.
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The US Senate has approved a bill to increase the safety of products following ensuing concerns from last year’s spate of recalls.

The bill would see more power given to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)), ban practically all lead content in toys and mandate independent testing of children’s products as well as ban phthalates in children’s items and regulate the sale of second-hand baby cribs.

The White House has expressed some concerns with the bill, which is apparently tougher than the House of Representative’s version, passed in December. Both Houses will now have to come to a compromise.

If legalised, the bill would boost the CPSC's budget, staff, enforcement powers and its presence at US ports. It would also create a database, available to the public, on mishaps related to consumer products.

The bill also included an amendment co-written by Senator Barack Obama which would require the CPSC to develop standardised recall notices to give parents more information about dangerous products, as well as refunds and replacements.

Gerald Storch, chief executive of Toys R Us said: "We now look forward to the negotiations between the House and Senate, and we hope for rapid resolution of open issues and other details, so the end result is legislation that benefits everyone involved.”

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