The Case for Governmental Regulation of the Toy Industry

Regarding the front page article "White House Plans to Widen Its War Against Regulations," April 17: President Bush's election-year campaign to stem regulation hurts the health and safety of American families. The latest victims of this misguided anti-regulation zeal are infants and toddlers.

The leading cause of toy-related deaths is when young children choke on small toy parts, balloon pieces, marbles, and small balls.

After five years of work on the problem, the staff of the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommended a solution: tougher labeling. But the commissioners - appointed by the administrations of Presidents Bush and Reagan - voted last month against taking any action at all to prevent toy-choking deaths.

The tragic result is that future parents will be able to point to a particular government decision that could have saved their child from choking to death.

Fortunately, members of Congress have stepped in to fill the regulatory void. Two weeks after the Commission's decision, the key House subcommittee on product safety issues approved a measure (HR 4706), by Rep. Cardiss Collins (D) of Illinois, that would require toys to be clearly labeled to inform parents of the choking hazard, and to require balls to be too large to choke toddlers.

Passage of this bill will not only save children's lives, but will also be an important first step in repairing the damage done by Mr. Bush's anti-regulation agenda. Lucinda Sikes, Washington Staff Attorney, US Public Interest Research Group

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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