As a grandfather with a 16-month-old grandson, I was deeply concerned when I learned about the level of lead paint in Mattel’s products.  Of all things, toys for children are supposed to be safe, but recent events have reminded us that we must work harder to make that so.

In a world where we cannot prevent accidents or natural disasters, we are supposed to do everything we can to stop tragedies from happening where we do have control.  Unfortunately, due to a lack of responsibility, lack of sound business practices, and a lack of regulation of foreign manufacturers that export products to the United States, even toys are not safe for children.

Yesterday, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection held a hearing on protecting children from lead-tainted imports.  The subcommittee explored the following questions:

  • How should the U.S. structure future trade agreements to enhance the protection of the American consumer?

  • How can the U.S. and others compel China to enforce its own regulations?

  • What sort of quality control practices should U.S. businesses employ in China to ensure supply chain integrity?

  • How do cost pressures applied by large U.S. retailers to toy and other manufacturers diminish quality control?

These questions will guide our work in developing better methods for protecting consumers and their children from dangerous imports.  For the sake of our children’s safety, we must do better.