Watchdog On a Leash

Florida’s The Ledger
Saturday, May 26, 2007

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is supposed to do what its name implies - protect consumer safety. It should also be composed of commissioners who will provide an impartial ear when reviewing consumer-safety issues and adopting regulations for manufacturers.
Which is why Michael Baroody's nomination by President George W. Bush to be CPSC chairman was disturbing, to say the least. In a move characteristic of his let-industry-regulate-itself philosophy, Bush chose Baroody, executive vice president and chief lobbyist at the National Association of Manufacturers, to become the country's top consumer-safety watchdog.
In more than 15 years with the association, Baroody had earned a reputation in the nation's capital and state capitals for battling consumer-safety initiatives and stricter accountability measures for industry.
Baroody's baggage quickly drew opposition to his nomination from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of State Fire Marshals.
And that's not all. Consumers Union - the publisher of Consumer Reports - joined with seven other consumer groups in protesting Baroody's nomination, saying he consistently favored reducing business costs at the expense of consumer protection. The other organizations were: The Center for Environmental Health, Center for Justice and Democracy, Consumer Federation of America, Kids in Danger, Public Citizen, Saferparks and U.S. PIRG (the federation of state Public-Intrest Research Groups).
"Mr. Baroody is a poor choice to head an agency responsible for overseeing the safety of children's toys, clothing and nursery products," said Sally Greenberg, senior product safety counsel for Consumers Union. "The well being of our kids is too important to turn it over to someone who has always taken the industry side where safety is concerned."

For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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