*Consumers Union * Consumer Federation of America * * Kids in Danger * National Research Center for Women & Families * * Union of Concerned Scientists * U.S. Public Interest Research Group * * Public Citizen * FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, July 17, 2008 Consumer Groups Call on Congress to Finalize Product Safety Legislation Now; Delays on Toy Safety should end Joint Statement from Consumer, Public Interest and Scientific groups Washington, DC—Today consumer, public interest and scientific groups are calling on Congress to finish the job of reforming the nation’s product safety system before the August recess. Bi-partisan legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives in December and the U.S. Senate in March. Conferee staff and members have been meeting to resolve differences since then to reach agreement on a wide range of issues. Today in a public conference committee meeting, the House and Senate reached agreement on a number of issues important to our organizations, including the ban on lead in children’s toys and products, the Attorney General enforcement provision, and the establishment of a public database on product hazards. The product safety legislation will revamp the under-funded and under-staffed Consumer Product Safety Commission and includes some of the most significant improvements in nearly two decades of an agency that oversees the safety of more than 15,000 consumer products in the United States. The groups released the following statement: “After a record number of product recalls in 2007 and more in 2008, consumers have real concerns about the safety of the toys they buy. Conferees have made real progress on key points of contention between the House and Senate product safety bills, especially with regard to clarifying the role of state Attorney General enforcement, creating a public database on product hazards and banning lead. But the clock is ticking. Congress needs to step up efforts to resolve the final differences and move the product safety legislation over the finish line. Our product safety system has been broken for too long and needs to be fixed - now. Consumers have waited long enough. It is time for every member of Congress to put safety first and help ensure passage of a strong product safety bill.” The consumer groups call on Congress to resolve some of the outstanding issues that remain unresolved by: • Adopting a mandatory Toy Safety Standard. Current voluntary standards for toy safety must be made mandatory (subject to upgrading by the CPSC) and toys should be certified to meet that standard before entering the marketplace. The Senate bill includes this language, but the House bill does not.