PhotoThe Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has voted to implement rules that will require independent safety testing of toys and other children's products.

The Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, and Kids in Danger hailed the vote as a critical victory in helping families protect their children, as well as helping to prevent expensive and disruptive recalls.

Third-party testing was a key provision of the law passed with strong bipartisan support by Congress and signed by President Bush in 2008 to crack down on unsafe children’s products.

The law – the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act – was prompted by a wave of recalls of lead-tainted toys and other dangerous items.

Formal rules

Today’s CPSC vote puts formal rules in place to require products designed for children ages 12 and under to undergo third-party safety testing before they are sold.

The requirements include provisions such as testing for lead or lead paint in product materials, identifying hazards that could cause injuries or choking, and making sure that nursery products, including cribs and strollers, meet the strict standards required by the law.

A February 2011 poll by Consumer Reports found that around 8 in 10 consumers strongly agree that the federal government should require testing by manufacturers of children’s products to ensure they do not contain any harmful substances.

"People might assume independent safety tests were already required for toys. But the reality is, too often, dangerous toys aren’t discovered until there’s a tragedy," said Ami Gadhia, Senior Policy Counsel for Consumers Union. “These rules will go a long way toward preventing unnecessary harm to our children, as well as avoiding costly recalls."

Rachel Weintraub, Director of Product Safety and Senior Counsel at Consumer Federation of America, also applauded the CPSC's action.

"Independent third party testing for children's products is a cornerstone of the CPSIA," she said. "To ensure that products meet strict safety standards, testing them to those standards, before they end up in our homes and in our children's hands, is necessary."

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