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Congress Limps Toward Product Safety Reform

The Washington Post published a commentary in the Sunday “Outlook” section (Dec. 23, 2006) by Robin Ingle, a Bernabei & Kabat client who formerly worked at the Consumer Product Safety Commission as a statistician on various safety issues. Ms. Ingle resigned after realizing that the CPSC would only delay in releasing statistics that safety problems with certain products had actually gotten worse, not better, and that the CPSC’s attorneys would insist that reports be rewritten to claim, falsely, that those products were safer than in the past. Ms. Ingle concluded her article by calling upon the agency to focus on its mission: to save lives, not to cover up for the industry:

It’s easy to be outraged because the agency has allowed dangerous products to be imported from China, or because its chairman has taken trips paid for by the industries she regulates. But it’s important to look more closely at CPSC and ask what really drives it and what currency it deals in. The agency was formed for one reason: to save lives. People of all ages die every day in incidents associated with some of the 15,000 products that it’s meant to oversee. The agency should listen to its own scientists and stop silencing the life-saving research happening in its buildings.

Subsequently, OMB Watch, a non-profit group that monitors the lack of government oversight and accountability in many critical areas, discussed Ms. Ingle’s article, and the pending legislation in Congress that would force the CPSC to focus on safety, not covering up for the industry.