Pelosi: We Must Do More to Protect Our Children From Unsafe Toys

Washington, D.C. — Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Representatives Bobby Rush, Rosa DeLauro, Bart Stupak, and Diana DeGette and consumer advocate Donald Mays held a news conference in the Capitol this afternoon on Democratic efforts to promote consumer product and toy safety.  Below are the Speaker’s opening remarks:

‘Good afternoon.  We’re gathered here this afternoon on a subject of very great concern to America’s families.  As we approach the holiday season, with Halloween tomorrow, and Thanksgiving around the corner, and shopping for Christmas toys going on probably as we speak, we want to make sure that we are doing the best possible job to protect America’s children.

‘Twenty million imported toys, manufactured overseas, were recalled this summer. Twenty million toys.  Some of these toys contained nearly 200 times the legal limit for lead.  Two hundred times.

‘At the Consumer Safety Protection Commission, there is only one inspector charged with testing toys to make sure that they are safe for our children. There are toys being sold in our stores now that are untested and are unsafe.

‘Some of them are here.  This top is very dangerous in terms of the amount of lead that it contains. This toy, with these little steel balls and the rest – this is suitable for a four-year-old child according to the label, not suitable for a child three years and under.

‘And then this – this really breaks my heart because with five grandsons I have Thomas the Train toys practically set up across the country – but some of the Thomas the Train toys, not all, but some, are dangerous to the health of our children.

‘And I say not all, but some – why should it be up to the moms and dads to be able to figure that out? Is it too much to expect the government to live up to its responsibility to protect our children? We have a consumer protection agency to do that.

‘In a letter just last week, the chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Nancy Nord, said she was opposed to increasing the agency’s funding or authority. One person assigned to testing toys to ensure that they are safe, and the Chairman of the Commission saying she is opposed to expanding the authority or the funding.

‘That is not what American parents want to hear. They want to know that we are doing all we can to ensure that safe toys, safe food, and safe medicine are available for our children.

‘We stand here today because we do not believe that it is too much for America’s parents to ask. America’s children deserve all of that and more.  My colleagues who are standing here, they have taken the lead on this. They and Mr. Dingell, the Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, have been in the lead, and Congresswoman DeLauro on the Appropriations Committee.’

‘Already this year, we passed sweeping new drug safety legislation, conducted vigorous oversight with toys and food safety hearings, and increased funding for the Consumer Safety Product Commission while toughening the fines that they can levy.

‘Now, under the leadership of Chairman John Dingell and Bobby Rush, the Chair of the Subcommittee, we are moving legislation that will ban lead from children’s toys, will require testing of children’s products by independent, third-party laboratories, that will provide the Consumer Product Safety Commission with significantly greater resources to protect America’s consumers.

‘I want to commend Congresswoman Diana DeGette for her leadership on these issues that relate to toys, medicine, and food safety for our children. I want to commend Chairman Bart Stupak for his chairmanship of the important committee and the oversight hearings he has had. I want to commend Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro for her leadership on the Appropriations Committee, where she has made food safety a mission and a crusade, and acknowledge and yield to the distinguished Chairman of the Subcommittee that has dealt with this issue of toy safety and commend him for his leadership. I want to yield now to Congressman Bobby Rush.’