Smiley & Smiley, LLP

Five years of consumer safety progress under the CPSIA

Five years ago this month, the federal Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) was passed by Congress and signed into law. Since that time, the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has been granted increased resources and authority to recall dangerous and defective products from the American marketplace. Though this law has only been a part of the American consumer culture for five years, it has dramatically changed product safety in the U.S. for the benefit of consumers both young and old.

Passage of the CPSIA was inspired in part by parental outcries. American parents were growing increasingly frustrated by the safety hazards posed by many children’s products. In particular, parents were worried about lead content in toys and about dangerous products that were marketed specifically to promote child safety and then ultimately caused their children harm. The CPSIA required the CPSC to reform lead limits in children’s products. Today, toys sold in America are held to the most stringent lead-based standards in the world.

This is just one example of how the CPSIA has changed consumer safety over the past five years. Hopefully, this transformation will confirm for consumers the fact that if you demand change from lawmakers, you may succeed even beyond your original intentions. You may need to be loud and you may need to speak up repeatedly, but your voice can change safety culture in New York and in the U.S. for the better. Parents who demanded change five years ago can attest this hopeful reality. 

Source: Huffington Post, “The Law That Put Consumers First at the CPSC,” Inez Moore Tenenbaum, Aug. 13, 2013

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