November 14, 2007
Jefferson City, Mo. — With each week bringing new additional toy recalls because of high lead content and other potential dangers, Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon is urging parents to arm themselves with information about the latest recalls when they go shopping or as they check the toys their children already have.
“Parents are rightfully concerned about the safety of their children when they hear about the recall of millions of toys, even toys from well-known companies,” Nixon said. “Keeping up with the latest news of recalls is becoming increasingly complicated every week as more children’s products are affected. My Web site is updated daily to include the latest recalls, and consumers can go there knowing they’ll see the most recent recall information.”
The list of recalled toys and other children’s products can be found at ago.mo.gov, the Web site of the Missouri Attorney General. The listings also cover food, drugs, vehicles, tires and other consumer products.
At the same time, Nixon also is working with other state Attorneys General in looking at specific toy manufacturers and the overall problem of lead in children’s products. Missouri is on the executive committee of a multi-state group that is looking specifically at toys from major manufacturers, and Nixon said his office also is part of a group of Attorneys General examining the larger overall issue of lead in children’s products.
State Attorneys General are being compelled to move to the forefront of the issue of lead in children’s products because of the size of the challenge and lack of action by the federal government, Nixon said.
“The Consumer Product Safety Commission is understaffed and underfunded to the point where, in practical terms, the only recalls that take place are where the company voluntarily informs the CPSC and voluntarily issues the recall,” Nixon said. “The states are having to step up to look deeper into this growing problem that poses a threat to children’s safety. We also are sending a message to the federal government: don’t pre-empt the authority of the states to protect our citizens from dangerous products.”
Nixon said under the current federal Consumer Product Safety Act, states are pre-empted from stricter enforcement regarding unsafe products in areas where a CPSC regulation exists. Nixon and other Attorneys General are taking a close look at two bills pending in Congress that address increased funding and other issues related to the CPSC. They support changes to the law that would specifically provide for state Attorney General enforcement of federal standards and traditional consumer protection remedies under state consumer protection statutes, Nixon said.
In the meantime, Nixon said, it is important for consumers to remain informed about product recalls.
“Children’s products sold in the U.S. should be completely safe to use, no matter where the product was originally manufactured,” Nixon said. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen too many products with excessive lead content that must be pulled off the store shelves or, worse, be brought back in by parents who already have purchased and used the unsafe products. I urge consumers to remain vigilant.”