WASHINGTON, D.C. (WIBW) - Senators Moran and Klobuchar are introducing new legislation to protect consumers from injuries and deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, requiring a comprehensive study.
Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) says he and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) have introduced the COVID-19 Home Safety Act, which is meant to protect consumers from injuries and deaths related to products during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Moran, recent reports show that pediatricians and emergency room doctors have experienced an increase in patients looking for treatment for home injuries, like broken bones on bikes and trampolines, as well as accidental hand sanitizer poisoning in children. He said the new bill would require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to study injuries and deaths caused by products during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the study would look at products and evaluate the impact of the injuries on members of vulnerable groups, such as children, minorities, seniors and those with disabilities. He said the bill also directs the CPSC to work with the media to distribute information like its Home Safe Checklists to help improve home safety during the pandemic.
“The daily lives of Americans have changed significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Sen. Moran said. “Recent reports of increased injuries, particularly to children, minorities, seniors, and people with disabilities, caused by consumer products is concerning, and this legislation would require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to provide a comprehensive assessment of safety issues under its jurisdiction to determine future federal action."
“As we continue to confront the coronavirus pandemic, American families should not also have to worry about the safety of products in their own homes,” Sen. Klobuchar said. “This legislation will help protect our children, seniors and other vulnerable populations from injuries and deaths caused by consumer products during and after the pandemic.”
Moran said companion legislation is being led in the House by Representatives Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.), Vice-Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce, and Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) and passed the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce in September. He said the bill has been endorsed by Consumer Reports, National Consumers League, the Consumer Federation of America and Kids in Danger.
“American families are facing a multitude of difficulties during this pandemic—from unemployment to child care concerns. While we work to address all challenges that arise, we must also specifically address the very real problems of consumer safety and home injuries brought upon by COVID-safety restrictions,” Congressman Tony Cárdenas said. “As Americans spend more time at home, we cannot ignore the child-safety risks that certain consumer products pose. This bipartisan bill will require that these issues be studied, so lawmakers can take appropriate measures to protect American consumers and children by preventing future injuries.”
“Understanding the full impact of COVID-19, including its effects on consumer safety and home injuries, is critical to protecting public health during this pandemic,” Congressman Rodney Davis said. “I’d like to thank Senators Klobuchar and Moran for introducing the bipartisan COVID-19 Home Safety Act in the Senate. It is my hope that both chambers of Congress pass this important legislation in the coming weeks so we can take appropriate action to keep American families safe.”
In July, Moran said he and Klobuchar led a letter which urged the FTC to protect seniors from contact tracing scams after reports that scammers were posing as contract tracers in order to financially exploit consumers and steal their personal information, like Social Security numbers and credit card numbers. He said the letter also urged it to commit to taking action to educate and help seniors recognize legitimate contact tracing and understanding their options should they fall victim to scams.
Moran said in May, he and Klobuchar introduced legislation that would protect seniors from scams during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the Protecting Seniors from Emergency Scams Act directs the FTC to report to Congress on scams that target seniors during the pandemic and make recommendations on how to prevent these scams during emergencies. He said in March, the pair led a bipartisan letter with 32 colleagues urging FTC Chairman Joseph Simons to protect seniors from COVID-19 related scams, better inform consumers about scams and help victims understand their options to make sure seniors are protected from those trying to financially exploit them during the pandmeic.