Archives for : June2013

Senate Bill On Chemical Safety For Consumers Needs Reform

Take a moment to think about all the bottles in your home that contain chemicals. Think about your beauty products, cleaning products, air fresheners, home improvement products and liquid art supplies. Though Americans do not ordinarily associate these bottles with risk of illness or injury, they are indeed dangerous products given the correct context. When their contents are spilled and subsequently inhaled, exposed to skin, swallowed or otherwise improperly handled, some can cause serious illness, injury and even death.

A bill currently being considered in the Senate seeks to address some of the hazards associated with the toxic chemical makeup of many household products. The bill is entitled the Toxic Substances Control Act, though it is also currently referred to as the Chemical Safety Improvement Act. The bill is still within the control of the Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public Works. Before it is placed before the entire Senate for debate and consideration, it needs to be significantly reformed in order to effectively achieve its aims.

The main concern that Americans should have with the bill as currently proposed is that it virtually eliminates the ability of injured persons to sue negligent manufacturers for illnesses, injuries and deaths caused by chemicals found in household products. Though the bill does employ new federal review standards, these preventative measures will do nothing to help people who are ultimately injured by household products despite their existence.

The media, safety experts and the public have learned time and again that employing baseline review standards can be beneficial for safety overall, but accidents will not be eliminated by their institution. Injured persons need to retain the right to sue those who have harmed them should their injuries occur despite the existence of federal standards aimed at preventing such injuries.

Protecting the public from toxic chemicals commonly found in household products is a goal worthy of pursuit. However, the bill eliminating the right of injured persons to sue when toxic exposure ultimately harms them anyway needs to be reformed before it should be considered at all.

Source: Washington Times, “Proposed chemical safety bill not so safe,” Paul Samakow, June 10, 2013

The Cpsc Responds To Serious Stroller Safety Concerns

They seem to be everywhere. One can see them easily on jogging trails and in shopping malls, on sidewalks and in public parks. Strollers are nearly as ubiquitous as babies themselves. These objects help parents to give their children a portable place to play, sleep and observe the world. Unfortunately, many stroller models are increasingly being classified as dangerous or defective products.

From 2008 to 2012 alone, at least four babies died and at least 350 were injured in stroller accidents. These rolling seats are meant to be a safe place for infants, babies and toddlers to rest and play. The number of injuries associated with these products is simply unacceptable.

In response to the significant number of unsafe strollers currently rolling their way onto the market, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has taken action to keep babies safer than they are now. Last month, the CPSC unanimously voted to notify the public via the Federal Register that it desires to create a stroller safety standard at the federal level. Before the commission can create such rules, it must generally seek public comment.

The CPSC has already published a voluntary safety standard for stroller manufacturers. The newly proposed standard would make that voluntary standard mandatory. It would also require manufacturers to address pinching, scissoring and shearing dangers if they produce strollers that fold up.

Until this standard is adopted and goes into effect, infants and toddlers will face an increased risk of stroller accidents. Any parents who have suffered while watching their child become injured in one of these seats should consider contacting an experienced personal injury attorney who can help to hold negligent manufacturers responsible for that injury.

Source: Sacramento Bee, “CPSC Approves Proposed Rule Aimed at Making Strollers Safer,” CPSC, May 10, 2013