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Wrong Man(ufacturer) for the Job

You’ve read here about Michael Baroody, the latest in a parade of industry cronies nominated by the White House. This time it’s to fill the empty chairman’s seat at the critically important Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Baroody, who was in charge of lobbying for the 14,000-member National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and has a long career as an industry shill and anti-regulatory politicker, spent most of his career working to tilt the playing field away from consumer safety and keep corporations from being held accountable for any damages they cause.

Today, a coalition of consumer groups, including Public Citizen, released highlights of Baroody’s record and of NAM’s actions during his time with them, showing why he is a bad choice to head up an agency dedicated to public health and safety. The story was also picked up in The Hill.

Under Baroody, NAM repeatedly pushed to weaken the CPSC, which safeguards consumer products, including most children’s products.

Take, for example, baby walkers – a source of numerous accidents involving infants. The paper released today details NAM’s hostility to basic safety protections on baby walkers, among other issues. The walkers’ original design lacked any locking mechanisms or other protective devices. Babies in them could, and did, injure themselves by falling down stairways and off ledges.

NAM’s “solution”? Blame parents for improper supervision – and fight new standards that would correct obvious, serious and potentially fatal shortcomings in the walkers.

We chronicled stories involving the victims of harmful products as well. What happened to four-year-old Lee Ann Gryc is a particularly tragic example. Lee Ann has scars on more than a fifth of her body after her pajama top burst into flames while she was reaching across an electric stove. The pajama maker had cut costs by not treating the clothing with flame-retardants, although the fabric they use is almost as flammable as newspaper.

The Flammable Fabrics Act, which CPSC enforces, makes it illegal in most cases to peddle flammable sleepwear. NAM and other groups often tried to gut that rule and others, blaming parents or consumers for injuries and deaths.

Check out our information page on why Baroody is not the right man(ufacturer) for the job. Then tell your senators that you don’t want child safety jeopardized by a “loyal Bushie” and industry shill like Baroody.