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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Consumer Alert: Have Your Say On Nancy Nord

Nancy A. Nord is the current head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Readers of this blog know what an excellent job Ms. Nord is doing. This past month alone, there have been between 50 and 100 product recalls issued, and the Commission often resists issuing a recall until after consumers cause an outcry, having found out the dangers firsthand.

Now, ABC tells us that Nord, a Bush appointee, is opposing plans to expand the agency that she heads. Her reason?
Nord ... disagrees with increasing fines to as much as $100 million for companies that don't quickly report a product that may be defective, ... insist[ing] this provision would result in worried companies reporting every little safety concern, and inundating the agency.
I'm touched that Ms. Nord is so concerned about the worry that commercial producers of consumer goods suffer. However, more surprising is her lack of concern about the worry that consumers of such goods suffer. Haven't we had enough of children's toys contaminated with lead? It's at the point where you can't buy a child a toy any more without worrying that you're poisoning the poor thing.

At any rate, the consumer rights people don't take Nancy's worries too much to heart.
"We wonder who they are protecting. Are they protecting manufactures, or are they protecting consumers?" Donald Mays of Consumer Reports asked.

And some Democrats are asking the same question.

"This is the agency that deals with regulation. She is charged with doing that. If she doesn't believe we ought to be doing it, I think it's time for her to resign," Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., said at a press conference.
Today, her namesake in the House suggested exactly that - resign forthwith, Nord.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said:
A commission chair who says "we don't need any more authority or any more resources to do our job does not understand the gravity of the situation," said Pelosi (D-Calif.). "I call on the president of the United States to ask for the resignation."

Democrats in Congress allege that the administration has slowly dismantled the regulatory framework that helped ensure a higher degree of safety for products, both domestic and imported.

Consumer groups, however, have called for more aggressive measures. They complain that the administration has sided with industry, and has waited until product safety issues emerge—either through deaths or injuries or illnesses—before taking action by initiating recalls. By then, they argue, it's too late to prevent harm.

"Recalls are an ineffective method for separating consumers from harm's way," said Donald Mays of Consumers Union. "Last month's recall of one million Simplicity cribs had a consumer response rate of a mere 4.5 percent, leaving 950,000 hazardous cribs still in the homes of unsuspecting parents. "We need proactive measures to prevent unsafe products from reaching the market in the first place, rather than relying on an ineffective recall system." Mays said.
That's right, Nord. Mattel alone has recalled 9 million toys this year. If you can't do your job, step down and let the persons responsible appoint someone who can!

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At 9:24 PM, Blogger McBlogget said...

I think her real name must by Nancy F. Nord!


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