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Press Release - Edwards Calls On President Bush And Congress To Take Action To Keep Kids Safe From Dangerous Toys

August 15, 2007

Calls for a bipartisan Congressional investigation into the matter

Chapel Hill, North Carolina – In the wake of yet another enormous recall of imported children's toys, Senator John Edwards sent a letter to President Bush calling again for the Bush administration to take immediate steps to reduce the growing risk posed by unsafe trade and ensure the health and welfare of American consumers. Edwards also sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid urging them to launch a bipartisan Congressional investigation into the matter.

Edwards called for concrete and common-sense steps, including independent third party testing, authority for temporary border detention of products containing paint or magnets and stronger enforcement powers for the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The text of the letters, as well as Edwards' six-point plan to address the risks posed by dangerous toys and protect the health and safety of American children, are below:

Dear President Bush,

As one father to another, I'm calling on you to end your silence, speak out, and take immediate action to stop the growing crisis of dangerous toys being imported from China. The safety of the American people should be your highest priority and these unsafe toys pose a serious threat to the health and welfare of millions of children. Given the growing scope of this crisis, we cannot rely on corporations to initiate voluntary recalls while your administration sits on the sidelines. America's families and our children deserve better than this.

Again, I ask you, as one parent to another, to consider the serious fears and concerns that millions of parents face because they are unsure whether their child is playing with a toy made in China that could seriously harm our children. With nearly 12 million toys recalled this summer alone, it is clear now that the chain of recalls are not isolated incidents. Just today, Mattel had to recall 9 million toys from China because they put our children at risk. The manufacturing standards in countries like China, from where which nearly 80 percent of toys are imported, are inadequate and not being enforced. This is unacceptable. We need real leadership and we need action to ensure that our children's toys are safe.

A working group to study the issue is plainly inadequate. As president, you must put aside any concerns you may have for the impact on this industry, and do everything in your power to ensure that dangerous toys never pass our borders and harm America's children.

Two weeks ago, I proposed that we look at solutions like mandatory, independent third party testing. Many manufacturers already seek independent safety assurances. Since neither Chinese manufacturers nor their American corporate partners seem capable of stopping the production of dangerous toys, I am convinced that mandatory independent testing is absolutely necessary to safeguard the health of our children.

Until a reliable system of testing is firmly in place, we must protect our children. I want to know why you have not adopted a "zero tolerance" policy, getting whatever authority you need to immediately stop and test the highest-risk imported children's products -- those with potentially toxic lead-based paint or detachable magnets. We also need to put the Consumer Product Safety Commission back on the side of consumers — by strengthening its enforcement powers and eliminating conflicts of interest. Finally, we need to enact smart and safe trade policies that put workers and families first, instead of the profits of big multinational corporations. I urge you to immediately take these steps to help ensure the safety of our children — they deserve nothing less.

You have the power to make our country a safer place for our kids to play and learn and grow – for their sake, please act today.

Sincerely,

John Edwards


Dear Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid,

As parents, I am asking you to take immediate action to stop the growing crisis of dangerous toys being imported from China. President Bush continues to remain silent while more and more dangerous toys make their way into our children's hands. This is unacceptable. I have called on the president to take immediate steps to ensure the safety of our children, but given his silence, I urge you to take action. Given the growing scope of this crisis, we cannot rely on corporations to initiate voluntary recalls or, apparently, on the Bush Administration. Clearly, America's families and our children deserve better than this.

I ask you to consider the serious fears and concerns that millions of parents face because they are unsure whether their child is playing with a toy made in China that could seriously harm our children. With nearly 12 million toys recalled this summer alone, it is clear now that the chain of recalls are not isolated incidents. Just today, Mattel had to recall 9 million toys from China because they put our children at risk. The manufacturing standards in countries like China, from where which nearly 80 percent of toys are imported, are inadequate and are not being enforced. This is unacceptable.

Two weeks ago, I proposed that we look at solutions like mandatory, independent third party testing. Many manufacturers already seek independent safety assurances. Since neither Chinese manufacturers nor their American corporate partners seem capable of stopping the production of dangerous toys, I am convinced that mandatory independent testing is absolutely necessary to safeguard the health of our children.

Until a reliable system of testing is firmly in place, we must protect our children. We need to adopt a "zero tolerance" policy, passing new legislation if necessary to immediately stop and test the importation of the highest-risk children's products-- those with potentially toxic lead-based paint or detachable magnets. We also need to put the Consumer Product Safety Commission back on the side of consumers by strengthening its enforcement powers and eliminating conflicts of interest. Finally, we need to enact smart and safe trade policies that put workers and families first, instead of prioritizing the profits of big multinational corporations.

Respectfully, I urge you to launch a bipartisan congressional investigation to determine why this threat from unsafe Chinese imports is now emerging, the exact threat our children face, what corporations that trade with China knew, and when did they know it, and what, if anything, the Bush Administration has done to address these serious issues.

I strongly encourage all members of Congress -- Democrats, Republicans, and Independents -- to work together to address this problem before it becomes an even greater threat to our children.

Sincerely,

John Edwards


For more details on Edwards' six-point plan to address the risks posed by dangerous toys and protect the health and safety of American children, please click here for the fact sheet.

John Edwards, Press Release - Edwards Calls On President Bush And Congress To Take Action To Keep Kids Safe From Dangerous Toys Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/294052

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