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Brown pushes reforms amid toy scandal


CLEVELAND - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown blamed the Bush administration Monday for the toy recall scandal and announced a six-point plan to combat toxic toys.

This year has seen a record number of toy recalls; more than 6 million toys were recalled in November, including the popular Aqua Dots toy beads, which were coated in a chemical that can turn into GHB, the "date rape" drug, when swallowed.

"All mothers and fathers rely on the federal government to know their toys and food are safe," said Brown, D-Ohio. "This is an urgent matter that needs to be addressed immediately."

Brown said the Senate may vote as soon as next week on the Consumer Product Safety Commission Reform Act of 2007, which would increase the agency`s funding by

58 percent over the next seven years, increase staff and require third-party certification of children`s products.

"I think it will pass unless Republicans filibuster," said Brown, who appeared at Tower City with two mothers of young children and other children`s rights advocates.

The five other parts of Brown`s plan:

- Appointment by President Bush of a qualified leader at the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Brown has called for the resignation of Acting Chairman Nancy Nord, saying she "took trips on the dime of the toy industry" and fought against strengthening the commission.

- Requiring distributors of food and consumer products to demonstrate the financial capacity to cover risks associated with recalls and product safety.

- Continue working with Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., to ban lead in children`s products and set penalties of up to $250,000 per violation.

- Require better labeling of toys to show the source and creation date of toys, with certification that they conform to Consumer Product Safety standards.

- Elevate product safety in trade negotiations and prohibit the importation of food and products from countries whose regulatory systems have not been determined to provide adequate safety levels.

Other recalled toys last month include the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Learning Kitchen and Marvel Toys Curious George Plush Dolls, which both contained lead. Area toy managers said the banned products are off the shelves, and the toy scare is not dampening sales.

"We`re still selling toys by the bushel," said Jason Engrish,  a manager at Target in Elyria.

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or

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