Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., today urged the Department of Homeland Security to increase its efforts to intercept counterfeit air bags and other fake auto parts at U.S. borders. In a letter to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, Levin said that the counterfeit parts pose a serious public safety concern.
Levin's letter to Napolitano follows:
October 18, 2012
Secretary Janet Napolitano
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528
Dear Secretary Napolitano:
I am writing about the problem of counterfeit auto parts and the need for aggressive U.S. Customs and Border Protection actions to prevent dangerous knock-offs from crossing our borders and harming U.S. consumers. It is estimated that millions of counterfeit auto parts enter the United States every year with only a fraction being intercepted at the border.
A recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) advisory alerted consumers to the risk of counterfeit air bags. NHTSA warned vehicle owners and repair professionals that counterfeit air bags are being sold as replacement parts and provided a list of nearly 100 vehicles for which counterfeit air bags may be available. While the fake air bags look identical to authentic parts, they pose serious risk of failure. NHTSA testing found the fake parts may, in many cases, fail to deploy and, in others, spew metal shrapnel during deployment. It should come as no surprise that NHTSA found that counterfeit airbags were made in China.
The infiltration of the U.S. supply chain by fake and faulty auto parts poses a serious public safety concern. Not only that but knock-off parts flooding the market also cost American jobs. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection needs to increase its efforts to intercept these counterfeit air bags and other fake auto parts at the border.
Please provide me with a detailed report of the specific actions the Department of Homeland Security is undertaking to protect the public from counterfeit air bags and other counterfeit auto parts. Thank you.