Hidden hazards of Magnetix toys prompt legislators to action

After conducting a Senate field hearing in Chicago, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) hope to introduce product safety legislation that would give the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission more power to issue prompt recalls. Earlier this year, the agency’s inability to keep dangerous products off shelves resulted in over two dozen injuries to minors and even one death from Mega Brands Magnetix toys. The children were injured when they swalled parts of the Magnetix toys, which contain small magnets that became dislodged and then tore through the children’s digestive systems.

The legislators cited two reasons why the dangerous toys stayed on the shelves longer than they should have. First, the U.S. Conusmer Product Safety Commission must undergo a lengthy process before it can issue a recall. Second, the agency does not test products unless there has been a reported incident. In other words, the agency’s current procedure is to first wait until a child is hurt before it even starts investigating a potentiall dangerous product. The legislators hope to resolve these two issues by giving the agency more power to issue prompt recalls when companies fail to do so voluntarily.

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