Greenfield, IA, December 23, 2007
Calls for Getting Tough with China on Product Safety Standards
Greenfield, IA - Today, Senator Barack Obama called for a ban on toys with more than a trace amount of lead. Over 400,000 children in the United States are currently suffering from lead poisoning from a variety of sources, including toys. Over 80 percent of the toys in this country come from China.
"When I criticized China's product safety standards recently, an official at China's foreign ministry said I was being unobjective, unreasonable, and unfair,'" said Senator Obama. "Now, don't get me wrong: as president, I'll work with China to keep harmful toys off our shelves. But I'll also immediately take steps to ensure that all toys are independently tested before they reach our stores, and I'll significantly increase penalties on companies that break the rules. Because protecting our children isn't unreasonable' - it's our most important obligation as parents and as Americans."
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.
As President, Obama will enact a plan to protect Americans from unsafe products. In addition to banning lead-tainted toys and increasing fines for companies that fail to disclose known safety hazards with their products, Obama will:
1. 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.
2. Expand the Consumer Product Safety Commission's regulatory powers, and help the agency respond quickly and efficiently when it's alerted to a problem.
3. Increase fines for companies that fail to disclose known safety hazards with the products they're making.
4. Appoint a chairman with a proven record of standing up for consumer safety.