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Obama Vows to Protect Children from Lead-Based Toys

Press Release

Location: Des Moines, IA

Obama Vows to Protect Children from Lead-Based Toys

Unveils Plan to Strengthen Consumer Product Safety Commission

U.S. Senator Barack Obama today held a press conference in Waterloo to discuss his commitment to protecting America's children from lead-based products. Since the U.S. government ratified permanent normalized trade relations (PNTR) with China, Chinese consumer products have flooded the U.S. market. Unfortunately, U.S. officials who negotiated and passed PNTR failed to include strong safety and health standards for products entering the U.S. were enforced by the U.S., despite considerable warning that China had a weak safety and health screening process

"Today, going Christmas shopping isn't just a matter of what toys would bring our children the most joy, but what toys are safe to give them," Obama said. "The problem is that what safety standards are applied to toys made in China aren't enforced. And Americans, including many children, are paying the price. In the last six years, over 140 of the 152 consumer product recalls for unsafe lead materials issues have been for products made in China. This has to stop.

In 2005, Obama introduced the Lead-Free Toys Act, which would require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ban children's products containing more than a trace amount of lead. Following news reports that millions of Chinese-made toys were being recalled because of lead paint, he has also directly pressured toy manufacturers and Bush administration officials to do a better job protecting American children from the threat of imported toys, especially those manufactured in China.

"I've challenged the Bush administration and the toy companies to do a better job of protecting our children from unsafe toys, especially those made in China," Senator Obama said. "And I introduced a bill that would make it illegal to sell a toy that has more than trace amounts of lead - and that's a bill I'll sign into law when I'm President."

Barack Obama has been a consistent champion of strengthening laws to reduce the threat that lead-based products have for our children's health and safety. As president, Obama will build on his long-standing commitment to removing lead from children's products and homes to ensure that all American children are given the best opportunity to succeed in the future and he will push China and other exporters to enforce product health and safety standards.

"This is an issue that matters to me not just as a U.S. Senator, or a candidate for president, but as a parent. No father or mother should have to suffer through what so many families have already suffered through because their government failed them," Senator Obama said. "That's not who we are as Americans."

Senator Obama said that as President, he will double the funding for the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and make sure it has the inspectors it needs to ensure that the goods we're buying are safe. Obama is committed to expanding the agency's regulatory powers, and helping them respond quickly and efficiently when they're alerted to a problem to prevent more children from injury or death.

"The Consumer Product Safety Commission is about half the size it was a couple decades ago. It has just one full-time employee to check toys. And just 15 inspectors assigned to monitor the thousands of products coming into this country each year," Obama said. "It's time we had an agency that actually had the tools - and the leadership - to fight for consumer safety."

Last Thursday, exactly three weeks before caucus night, precinct captains for the Obama campaign hosted Caucus for Change precinct parties in 986 locations, covering 1710 of the 1784 precincts across Iowa. These parties provided an opportunity for precinct captains, local Obama supporters and undecided caucus goers to meet, work together, and receive the training they will use to stand up for Barack Obama on caucus night.

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