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the market, before it causes illness, injury, blindness, disfigurement, or death.

Today we are faced with a number of unreasonable hazards in and around the home. In determining their unreasonableness, we can ill afford to sit by and await an epidemic of tragedies to verify that a hazard exists. Instead, it is the proper role of the Federal Government to stimulate American industry to reduce product risks by an omnibus legislative approach which will permit the Government, where necessary, to promulgate and enforce minimal standards of reasonableness in product design and manufacture.

Currently, however, the folly of Federal regulation of consumer products is all to plain. Legislation in this area consists of a hodgepocłge of unrelated statutes dealing with specific hazards in very narrow product categories. There is no general Federal authority to seize or ban consumer products which exhibit unreasonable risks nor to require such products to conform to minimum safety standards.

And to the extent any Federal authority does exist, jurisdiction is commonly scattered amongst agencies or shared by as many as four different agencies. As the National Commission on Product Safety concluded:

Federal product safety regulation is burdened by unnecessary procedural obstacles, circumscribed investigative powers, inadequate and ill-fitting sanctions, bureaucratic lassitude, timid administration, bargain-basement budgets, distorted priorities, and misdirected technical resources.

All this in the face of 20 million Americans injured in the home each year in accidents involving consumer products, 110,000 of whom are permanently disabled and 30,000 killed. In terms of the national economy, the total cost each year of injuries from consumer products-excluding the automobile-may well exceed $5.5 billion. This includes financial cost to the injured victim, his family, close friends and relatives, but does not begin to take into account the trauma and pain that injury can produce.


Moreover, there are social costs of injuries from consumer products which include, among other things:

Untold millions of dollars in unrealized income tax revenues from preventable death or disability;

Public expenditures, $146 million, or 1.7 percent of all current expenditures for health care;

Total hospital admissions, 2.1 percent, filling 18,782 beds for "acute" care-a number equal to the annual construction of such beds at a capital expenditure of $600 million;

The equivalent of the full-time services of 2,000 daily practitioners, a number equal to one-fourth of the new physicians in 1970;

A drop of $100 million in potential retail sales as 100,000 families each year suffer an unexpected reduction of $1,000 or more in

their budgets. From my own experience in the business world, I think it is important to emphasize that the forces of competition, free enterprise, and profit motive are neither inherently conducive to nor inconsistent with

consumer safety. But with the backing of Government, properly organized to do the job, these forces can be focused to reduce unreasonable product risks.

An investment of this kind in the safety of consumer productsfrom rotary lawnmowers, to power tools, to plateglass panels, to unvented floor furnaces, to children's toys, and the rest—can be expected to produce an exceptional rate of return on the capital required. Such investment will also result in a more productive economy, an expanded market for consumer goods that can be relied upon, and, most important of all, a safer home environment for ourselves and our children.

Mr. Chairman, when a member of the business community said to me the other day, "Why do we need a consumer safety agency; why do we need a consumer protection agency?" And I listed some of the things that just in the last months have come to our attention where there had been flagrant abuses of regulations and product safety measures that should have been installed by industry. This questioning businessman had literally nothing to say when I listed the catalog of abuses that had been found within the private sector, and certainly the country, and consumers of this country, are demanding that more surveillance be provided by the Government in this area.

Thank you.
Senator HARRIS. Thank you.
Mr. Turner ?



Mr. TURNER. Senator Harris and Senator Percy, I thank you for the invitation to appear here today.

I have a prepared statement which has been made available to the committee and to those who desire to observe, and I would like to summarize for the committee what the high points of that statement are.

Senator Harris. Very well. Without objection, the complete statement will be made a part of the record.

(See exhibit 2, p. 112.) Mr. TURNER. Thank you. I am the author of “The Chemical Feast" which was the Nader report on the Food and Drug Administration which was begun in 1968.

I am currently codirector of a group called Consumer Action for Improved Foods and Drugs which seeks to implement the recommendations that were contained in the Vader report.

I am also a practicing attorney in the food and drug area in Washington and, as one of my clients, I have been representing a scientist in the Division of Biologics Standards over the last 18 months.

It is from this background that I come forward to support S. 3419 and the Agency that it creates.


This Agency will make three major contributions to consumer protection. First, it consolidates many of the most important consumer protection programs in the Federal Government; second, it expands much of the activity that we consumers are now presented with by the Federal Government, and, third, it creates an independent agency. Each of these three points is essential to progress in consumer protection along the lines outlined in both of the opening statements.

It should be pointed out initially that Secretary Richardson of HEW has strongly supported the concept of consolidation. He would like to consolidate the programs within HEW, however. But he has pointed out, “Centralizing these responsibilities will give Federal consumer protection efforts a single direction; that is, a more rational ordering of regulatory priorities than is now possible, as well as coordinated, and therefore enhanced, enforcement."

The crucial question that this bill presents is whether or not the problems currently faced in the organized consumer protection activities in the Federal Government stem from the organization of those agencies rather than the personnel who administer those laws.

It is my argument, in support of this bill, that the problems that the Federal Government faces in protecting consumers and in carrying out the mandate of Congress in consumer protection areas result directly from the way these organizations are currently placed in the Federal Government.

Primarily, these institutions need to be a part of an independent agency.

RESPONSIBILITY FOR REGULATORY PROGRAMS Secretary Richardson's arguments in support of consolidation is also a strong argument for the independence of the agency created by S. 3419. The official responsible for regulatory programs should himself have full authority to enforce the law and not with a supervisor. This authority cannot be achieved as long as the official is subordinate to anyone. As long as he is subordinate, his regulatory decisions are subject to review by individuals with competing policy orientations.

Secretary Richardson places clear-cut responsibility for enforcement at the top of his list of requirements for any agency administering consumer safety regulations. This is a sound standard.

Unfortunately, for the entire period that FDA has been within the province of a department of Government, currently the HEW, the Commissioner has not had clear-cut authority. From the time the Agency was created as a part of the Department of Agriculture until the present, Secretaries have found it necessary, because of public pressure, to intervene in decisions made by the regulatory agency.

When the law required FDA to move against cranberries in 1960, HEW Secretary Arthur Flemming took responsibility for the action. When the law required action of one kind or another on DDT in fish, the antibiotic Panalba, and the artificial sweetener cyclamate, in the past 3 years, it was the Secretary of HEW and not the Commissioner of the FDA who made the decision.

More recently, we have been presented with controversy between the Surgeon General of the United States and the Food and Drug Administration over the policies in the use of phosphate detergents. There is some suggestion by the public debate that the Government has changed its policy on these detergents. In fact, the regulatory agency, the FDA, has not changed its policy.


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The first intervention into regulation of the food protection laws came in 1907, just 2 months after the law went into effect, 2 months. At that time, the decision of Food and Drug Administrator Harvey W. Wiley to seize dried fruits treated with sulfur was reversed by his superior, the Secretary of Agriculture. The Secretary argued that the action endangered a “$15 million industry * * * in growing and drying fruits.” He said to the industry: "We have not learned * * * in Washington to guide your business without destroying it. We will learn better by-and-by, but * * just go on as you used to go on and I will not take any action to seize your goods."

A committee of Congress reviewed the case and condemned the action, setting out a guiding principle that is of great use today. “The standard of purity of food," the committee stated, “will never be determined with absolute finality. The standard will represent at any given moment the sum of our national knowledge on this subject *** but Congress, in enacting this law, did not provide that its provisions shall remain in abeyance until we shall have completed any given course of scientific research *

** The Secretary stands on safe grounds in asserting that 'We will know better by-and-by,' but the law is in force today.”

This is a standard which should be applied today and, unfortunately, often is not.


Sixty-three years later, former Commissioner of FDA, Dr. Herbert Ley, found the same problems facing him. He said, "The thing that bugs me is that the people think the FDA is protecting them. It isn't. What the FDA is doing and what the public thinks it is doing are as different as night and day."

He went on to say, "The real solution is to isolate the FDA functions from political pressures; to give the agency the national leadership and support that will allow any Commissioner to act responsibly and solely in the public interest.”

The only way to achieve the kind of clear-cut responsibility, the kind of accountability that Harvey Wiley and Herbert Ley, more than half a century apart, deemed essential to the protection of the public interest is to create a Consumer Product Safety Agency, independent of any department of the Federal Government.

Concerning coordination, Secretary Richardson has argued that the fact that HEW has a number of programs related to the product sa fety would suggest that his Department could in fact coordinate these activities more effectively than an independent agency. However, the situation of the Division of Biologics Standards, a regulatory agency within HEW, makes clear that the presence of such an agency inside such a department does not insure effective coordination of the resources related to its mission.

In fact, DBS's situation suggests the opposite. The presence of DBS within HEW actually appears to have inhibited its ability to make use of the health facilities of the Department.

I think this is a crucial point for independence.


The Secretary's own comments on the DBS suggests just how submerged and uncoordinated the policies of that agency have become. The Secretary commented:

The Division of Biologics Standards, for example, within the National Institutes of Health, has some functions comparable to the regulatory responsibilities of the FDA over drugs.

At the time that statement was made, the DBS was a relatively obscure Federal agency which no one had looked at for more than 15 years. As a result, the Secretary did not say that his office was involved with the Director of DBS in a several year controversy over that agency's failure to invoke the efficacy provisions of the food and drug law in the vaccine field. He did not point out that another institute at NIH, the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, had established a vaccine committee without DBS representation, because of a feeling of isolation from the DBS programs. He did not point out that one scientist, asked to comment officially on DBS cancer programs, suggested that the agency was far out of touch with the work of the other health institutes.

Being in HEW did not help DBS to take advantage of the FDA regulatory experiences. For years, FDA officials, and at least one committee of Congress, tried to get the DBS to cooperate with the FDA in enforcement of the drug laws. The DBS refused. The reason for this refusal is revealing. The Director argued that if he worked too closely with the FDA it might occur to some people to combine the two agencies.

The consolidation and coordination of programs is the reason that Secretary Richardson wishes all the consumer protection activities to remain in HEW. Yet to the DBS leadership, the very threat of consolidation led to strong resistance against coordination.

Also, this led to some serious health problems, in my opinion.


I believe that S. 3419, which combines DBS and FDA, would overcome this kind of bureaucratic lethargy and improve protection of the public.

It is also important to point out that the departments have a set of priorities and operate on these priorities—which often are counter to the regulatory priorities of the regulatory agencies within them.

Now, Secretary Richardson, because he is head of a health Department, believes that health regulation is of exclusive importance. The Secretary tends not to take regulatory action unless a major health crisis is called to his attention.

I believe this is a structural problem. The Secretary has only 24 hours in a day, and he is presented with with a series of problems emanating not only from Education and Welfare activities but from a wide range of health activities of which the FDA is only one. It is only when a problem is brought to a high priority level through its crises nature that the Secretary begins to look at it and begins to intervene in it.

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