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6.5 Million Unsafe Products Stopped at U.S. Borders in Last Two Years, CPSC Says

Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced Jan. 9 that in 2010 and 2011 more than 6.5 million units of about 1,700 different children’s products were stopped at U.S. ports of entry due to safety concerns or failure to meet federal safety standards. An agency press release states that in addition to toys and other children's products, items targeted by the CPSC and U.S. Customs and Border Protection at import include mattresses, art materials, household chemicals, lighters, fireworks, bike helmets and all-terrain vehicles. Some of the reasons these goods were stopped include violations of the standards for flammability, lead paint and lead content, phthalates and small parts.

The press release notes that the CPSC has increased its own enforcement efforts and has also expanded its cooperation with CBP. Since its creation in 2008, the CPSC’s import surveillance and inspection team has steadily increased the size of its staff at some of the largest U.S. ports of entry, CPSC headquarters and a CBP operations center. Carol Cave, director of the Office of Import Surveillance and Inspection, said that “having CPSC staff who have the training and equipment necessary to identify non-complying products under CPSC jurisdiction at the ports has improved coordination and cooperation with CBP and industry.” Cave added that working with CBP at the ports has led to more effective import enforcement by reducing exam times and increasing interagency communication. In the future, she said, the CPSC needs to “systematically evaluate the risk of incoming shipments and expand the number of staff inspecting merchandise.” In addition, the CPSC plans to publish regularly this year the results of safety enforcement efforts at U.S. ports.

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