WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, in a hearing by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, bipartisan support was voiced for an urgent remedy to the current crisis facing American children and their families – the importation of toys with dangerously high traces of lead and lead-based paint.

Entitled “Protecting Children from Lead-Tainted Imports,” the hearing was under the jurisdiction of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

The participants discussed the serious effects that exposure to lead-based products can have on children, including the wide range of negative effects it may have on a child’s development and behavior, occasionally resulting in death. Strong bipartisan support was shown for providing the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) with the resources it needs to ensure the safe importation of toys to children and families across America. Lawmakers also pledged to work with CPSC officials in an effort to modernize governing statutes, giving the Commission leverage through the regulatory process and enforcement activities.

In 1980, approximately 1,000 inspectors worked for the CPSC. Despite a substantial increase in foreign commerce in the decades since, today only slightly more than 400 inspectors work at the CPSC. In addition, taking into account inflation, the CPSC budget has been reduced to approximately half the level of its initial funding allocation in 1974.

“It is heartening to see Democrats and Republicans coming together to address an issue so important for our nation’s children,” said Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus. “In light of today’s news that leading American retailers such as Target and Dollar General have found more lead-contaminated children’s products in their inventories, this hearing could not have been more timely. I am hopeful that today’s groundswell of bipartisan support will lead to Congressional action to improve the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the implementation other measures which will better protect our children and their families from contaminated toys. Congressman Rush and Stearns should be commended for their leadership on this critically important issue.”

Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell (D-MI) indicated that the committee will produce legislation to addressing the safety issues related to Chinese imports and also expressed his intention to introduce legislation to improve the effectiveness of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.