The COVID-19 Home Safety Act requires the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to launch a comprehensive study on injuries and deaths caused by consumer products during the coronavirus pandemic
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Jerry Moran (R-KS), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection, introduced legislation to protect consumers from injuries and deaths related to consumer products during the coronavirus pandemic. Recent reports indicate that pediatricians and emergency room doctors have seen an increase in patients seeking treatment for home injuries, such as broken bones on bikes and trampolines as well accidental hand sanitizer poisoning in children. The COVID-19 Home Safety Act requires the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to study injuries and deaths caused by consumer products during the coronavirus pandemic. The study will examine products and evaluate the impact of these injuries on members of vulnerable groups—including children, minorities, seniors, and people with disabilities. This bill also directs the CPSC to collaborate with the media to distribute information, such as the CPSC’s Home Safe Checklists, to help improve home safety during the pandemic.
Companion legislation led in the House by U.S. Representatives Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Vice Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce, and Rodney Davis (R-IL), passed the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce in September. The bill is endorsed by Consumer Reports, National Consumers League, the Consumer Federation of America, and Kids in Danger.
"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,” 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.”
"The daily lives of Americans have changed significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic," 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."
"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," said Congressman Tony Cárdenas. "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," said Congressman Rodney Davis. "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."
As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights, Klobuchar has been a leader in the fight to protect consumers, especially children and seniors, during the coronavirus pandemic.
In July, Klobuchar and Moran led a letter urging the FTC to protect seniors from contact tracing scams following reports that scammers were posing as contact tracers in an attempt to financially exploit consumers and steal their personal identifying information, such as Social Security numbers and credit card numbers. The letter also urged the FTC to commit to taking action to better educate and assist seniors in recognizing legitimate contact tracing and understanding their recourse options should they fall victim to these scams.
In May, Klobuchar and Jerry Moran introduced legislation to protect seniors from scams during the coronavirus pandemic. The Protecting Seniors from Emergency Scams Act directs the Federal Trade Commission to report to Congress on scams targeting seniors during the coronavirus pandemic and make recommendations on how to prevent future scams during emergencies.In March, Klobuchar and Moran led a bipartisan letter with 32 colleagues urging FTC Chairman Joseph Simons to protect seniors from coronavirus-related scams, better inform consumers about scams, and assist victims in understanding their recourse options to ensure that seniors are protected from those attempting to financially exploit them during the pandemic.
In December 2019, Klobuchar sent a letter to the CPSC expressing her serious concerns about the significant increase in injuries to children who have ingested small rare-earth magnets and requesting that the agency investigate this matter and take steps to ensure that children are kept safe from these dangerous products.
Also in December, Klobuchar led a letter to the CPSC urging the agency to open an investigation into contaminated toys following reports that a child from Minnesota was found to have toxic blood levels of lead after playing with an off-brand spin toy that was purchased online. In January 2019, Klobuchar led a letter to the CPSC expressing concern that unsafe products may have entered the U.S. during the government shutdown and requesting information regarding what steps the CPSC would take to protect consumers. In 2016, Klobuchar led the push to implement stronger warnings against the dangers of ingesting laundry detergents like Tide Pods. After efforts by Klobuchar, including support of the Detergent Poisoning and Child Safety Act, manufacturers, the CPSC, and consumer advocates worked together to create the new voluntary safety standard to reduce the risk of accidental exposure.
Also in 2016, after urging from Klobuchar following reports of IKEA Malm dressers falling and killing children, the CPSC and IKEA announced a recall of all Malm dressers and a stop to their sale until safety precautions had been put in place. Klobuchar also introduced legislation to protect children from tipping furniture. Additionally, Klobuchar has advocated for consumer safety through supporting the installation of smartphone ‘kill switches.’ In 2008, Klobuchar was also a cosponsor of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which gave CPSC the additional authority, resources, and staff to enforce consumer protection laws, which included a Klobuchar provision to ban the use of lead in children’s products.
Klobuchar has worked to ensure children are protected from unsafe swimming pools. Klobuchar was a cosponsor of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act to require public pools and spas to incorporate anti-entrapment drain covers and establish a voluntary grant program for states to promote pool and spa safety--which was signed into law in 2007. She also won passage of two amendments that improved the bill, including one that made the new safety standards retroactive to existing pools that were intended for public use and one that required public pools with single drains to install the latest drain safety technology.