REPRESENTATIVE MORAN AND SENATOR LANDRIEU REINTRODUCE PRODUCT SAFETY CARD LEGISLATION

Bill is Critical to Informing Consumers About Recalls In Light of CPSC Move to Reject Product Registration Cards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 10, 2003
Rachel Weintraub, Consumer Federation of America, (202) 939-1012

Washington, DC - Consumer advocates today commended Representative James Moran and Senator Mary Landrieu for introducing the "Product Safety Notification and Recall Effectiveness Act." This legislation would direct the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to require manufacturers of certain consumer products to establish and maintain a system for providing notification of recalls of such products directly to consumers who purchase those products. On Friday, the CPSC rejected a petition to put in place such a system.

At a news conference with Representative Moran and Senator Landrieu, Consumer Federation of America Assistant General Counsel Rachel Weintraub said that the bill was a critical step in decreasing the deaths and injuries caused by recalled products that are not returned. "Companies that manufacture or sell certain products, especially those intended for children, should be required to go the extra mile to assure that recalls really work," said Rachel Weintraub, Assistant General Counsel at Consumer Federation of America. "We know of too many deaths and serious injuries that could have been prevented if the consumer had been directly informed of the product recall," she concluded.

The current recall notification system relies upon the media to communicate the news of product recalls. As a result, the return rate for recalled products is very low. In Fiscal Year 1997, the most recent year for which data is available, the return rate was 16%. Many recalls involve products for children. In fiscal year 2002, CPSC instituted recall actions involving 84 toy and children's products, involving more than 11 million product units. The risks of death or serious injury associated with children's product recalls are substantial. These recalls often occur because of choking, strangulation, suffocation, burns or serious fall hazards.

This legislation is especially important in light of CPSC's March 7, 2003, rejection of CFA's petition to require manufacturers of children's products to accompany such products with product safety registration cards. "The CPSC chose to reject a specific proposal to fix the nation's defective recall notification system, without offering a concrete timeline or plan of their own to deal with this problem, said Weintraub. "This means that it is more important than ever for Congress to move fast to protect consumers from defective recalls," she said. "We look forward to working with Representative Moran and Senator Landrieu to get this important bill on the books."

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Consumer Federation of America is a non-profit association of 300 consumer groups, with a combined membership of more than 50 million people. CFA was founded in 1968 to advance the consumers' interest through advocacy and education.