Just in time for Christmas shopping season, boys and girls...
Accessories for Barbie dolls were among the tens of millions of imported toys recalled this year because of toxic levels of lead paint or other serious safety problems.
The lack of reasonable oversight and inspection over goods coming into this country is scary. How many toy recalls or potential children made ill needs to happen?
As American consumers buy a sharply increased share of their goods from overseas, the American government has been cutting back its ability to regulate and inspect imports. Americans consumers are thus exposed to increasing numbers of products that were neither produced in America nor subject to American safety standards. The results put people at risk. Our report, "Toxic Trade: Globalization and the Safety of the American Consumer," (.pdf) documents these two trends. Government statistics show that imports have increased by 338 percent since 1974, the year the Consumer Product Safety Commission was created. Yet the budget for that agency today is less than half what is was in that year. In effect, we have been disarming our ability to protect ourselves, even as the need to do so has been soaring.
That Nancy Nord is so unwilling to actually do her job, and so willing to accept perks from companies that she's supposed to be watching makes her a perfect Bushie, but a really bad head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
UPDATE: And now, it's not just lead poisoning we have to worry about. Aqua Dots --one of this year's hottest toys-- contains a chemical similar to GHB (the date rape drug) and has already sent one boy into a coma.