Thank you for visiting our website

Featuring breaking political news and commentary on local, state, and national issues.

Friday, August 8, 2008

If It Took This Long to Ban Poison From Toys...

Ann-Marie Luciano Bio

These days, it seems like nothing is sufficiently alarming to cause Congress to act -- out of control gas prices, salmonella in food, the Iraq war -- unless it relates to the safety of children. At least Congress still is outraged by something.

Well, outrage may be a strong word to describe the fact that it took Congress this long to finally pass legislation to ban lead and some dangerous chemicals from toys despite all of the publicity about toxic toys over a year ago. It is troublesome to consider the fact that the issue as to whether to allow poisons such as lead to continue to be put into children's toys was actually subject to debate.

Ultimately, wisdom prevailed and both the House and Senate passed legislation last week that will ban lead in products for children age 12 or younger. The bill also bans children's products containing six types of phthalates (three phthalates are banned outright, another three are temporarily banned pending a 18 month review by the Consumer Product Safety Commission), which some scientists say are linked to health problems such as reproductive disorders and cancer.

Beyond banning products, the bill also includes a monitoring provision, which would require third-party testing for many children's products before they are marketed. One must again wonder why such monitoring wasn't standard before this legislation.

The Bush Administration's first response was of course to voice opposition to the bill. Faced with the Senate's 89-3 vote and overwhelming support across the country (and undoubtedly in recognition that November is a short time away), President Bush has now indicated he will sign the bill despite his opposition to the phthalate ban and other provisions.

Now the question is what's next. If lead is so dangerous, shouldn't it be banned from all products, regardless of whether meant for a child under or over 12 years of age? It is incredible that products with poisons in them are sold all of the time, despite the fact that there are so many safe alternatives. My hope is that this legislation marks the beginning of a change in priorities for our representatives to protect their constituents first.

No comments: