Rush Introduces Legislation to Improve Disclosure Requirements for Hazardous Products and Increases Civil Penalties for Violators

Jan 9, 2020
Press Release
ILLUSTRATION: CHRIS PHILPOT, courtesy of Consumer Reports

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) introduced H.R. 5565, the “Safety Hazard and Recall Efficiency (SHARE) Information Act,” which would amend Section 6(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 2055(b)) to allow the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to share critical information regarding hazardous products to consumers in a timely manner.  The legislation would also increase the civil penalties on those who violate information sharing requirements or continue to sell dangerous products.

“Section 6(b) undermines an essential function of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, prohibiting them from alerting consumers to hazardous products in a timely manner.  This has allowed companies to continue to line their pockets while consumers unknowingly purchase harmful products, completely oblivious to the potentially deadly consequences,” said Rep. Rush.  “The SHARE Information Act would reverse this remarkable injustice, protecting millions of Americans in the process.”

“Current law fundamentally protects manufacturers at the expense of consumer safety. When the CPSC wants to notify people about a hazardous product that could hurt or kill them, they usually have to get the company’s permission first. That’s absurd, and it leads to deadly secrecy and delays like we’ve seen with the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper. Every member of Congress should support the SHARE Information Act because it’s critical to put people’s safety, not corporate secrecy, first,” said William Wallace, Manager of Home and Safety Policy for Consumer Reports.

“Section 6(b) is a gag order on the CPSC — restricting the agency’s ability to warn our families about hazardous products,” said Nancy Cowles, Executive Director of Kids in Danger.  “Far too many children have died from unsafe products because the CPSC wasn’t able to issue warnings about specific products.  A swift repeal will allow the agency that’s tasked with protecting consumers to do its job and save children’s lives.”

“We commend Rep. Rush for taking decisive action.  Section 6(b) gives companies an effective veto over the release of critical health and safety information,” said Remington A. Gregg, Counsel for Civil Justice and Consumer Rights at Public Citizen.  “Big business’s ability to dictate the type of information that the CPSC releases makes a mockery of the agency’s mission to robustly protect consumers from unreasonable injury or death.  The CPSC’s mission is severely hampered in a way that no other federal regulator is stymied, and this must end.  Earlier this year, Public Citizen released a report calling on Congress to scrap the most problematic parts of 6(b) and we look forward to working with Rep. Rush to make that happen.”

“In the last year, we’ve seen the clear consequences of keeping information about injuries and deaths confidential as the death toll from inclined sleepers like the Rock ‘n Play continued to climb.  Rep. Rush’s effort to make critical health and safety information transparent, will help the CPSC meet its mission of protecting consumers, saving lives,” said Adam Garber of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Consumer Watchdog.

“Section 6(b) keeps consumers in the dark and prevents consumers from having access to critical information that could impact the health and safety of their families,” stated Rachel Weintraub, Legislative Director and General Counsel with the Consumer Federation of America.  “This bill is necessary to ensure that people have the information they need to make decisions about consumer products they own or are considering purchasing.”

The Safety Hazard and Recall Efficiency Information Act is supported by Consumer Reports, the Consumer Federation of America, Kids in Danger, Public Citizen, and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Consumer Watchdog.