Lawmakers in the U.S. are pushing a bill that would give the US product safety watchdog a much-needed boost, providing it with more money and authority after a wave of recalls of dangerous products which could cause personal injury.
On Thursday, March 6, the U.S. Senate voted for an increase in funding for the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which had to deal with low finances and staff levels last year while dealing with a record number of product recalls, most of which involved toys and other children's products laced with lead.
The CPSC Reform Act also promises to update the testing facilities of the CPSC, as well as raise the bar for safety certification standards of products intended for children and impose stiffer punishment for those who violate product safety laws.
Legislators still need to resolve the differences between the Senate's bill and another version the House of Representatives backed in December.
Regardless, consumer advocates and lawmakers are welcoming the draft legislation, believing that it will bring about much tighter control, especially over children's products.
According to Nancy Cowles, head of child safety advocacy group Kids in Danger (KID), more than half the recalls last year involved products intended for children, the majority of which dealt with lead in Chinese-manufactured toys. She said that she believes children in the U.S. will be "much safer" after the CPSC Reform Act goes into effect.