Sep 10, 2007
In the last few years, more than a hundred people have died in all-terrain vehicle (ATV) accidents. At least 15 people have died from a design flaw in BB guns, with another 170 seriously injured. And lead – which can delay or damage brain development in young children – has been found in such popular toys as Thomas the Train and Dora the Explorer.
What these safety hazards have in common is their supposed regulation by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Congress currently funds the CPSC with only 62 million dollars to ensure the safety of all consumer products for the entire country.
What does this level of funding mean? It means that not only has the budget dropped by half in the last 30 years. It also means the number of inspections and the number of employees have also dropped by about half, under both Republican and Democrat administrations.
There is one part-time inspector for the largest ports with imports from China – Los Angeles and Long Beach, California. Only one inspector is left to ensure the safety of all toys in the country. It is, therefore, no surprise that the CPSC investigates less than one in every seven reported injuries or deaths related to consumer products.
Industries don’t regulate themselves. Money must be spent to ensure safety. The Utah coal mining company Murray Energy was using the least safe method of mining coal when the accident occurred in August. It wasn’t the company that paid the price: it was the six miners and three rescuers who died.
This kind of government treats deaths from safety hazards as the cost of doing business. It shows where its full allegiance lies – with the companies that pollute, maim and kill.