Topic: Consumer Product Safety Commission

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What to expect from CPSC (at least for a little while)

Today at the International Consumer Product Health & Safety Organization annual meeting, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Acting Chairman Bob Adler delivered the keynote address. Adler provided some insight into his priorities for the Commission for the foreseeable future, recognizing that he is currently the Acting Chairman and a Democrat—with the presidential election coming in November, it is unclear how much longer he will be in this role. Overall, he intends to focus on providing stability to the Commission for however long he is the Acting Chairman. Beyond this,  here is a rundown of his comments and his specific … Continue Reading

Furniture tip-over remains in flux

A brief internet search shows that unambiguously, industry, regulators, and NGOs all agree that furniture tip-over is a priority in the consumer markets sector. However, there is little agreement on the best approach. Over the last year alone, we have seen the U.S. Consumer Product Commission announce that the Commission deems “clothing storage units” that do not meet ASTM F2057-17 as posing a “substantial product hazard” (presumably requiring a Section 15(b) report and perhaps recall). ASTM F2057-17 requires tip-over testing and permanent warning labels for any clothing storage unit over 30 inches in height. CPSC announced this arguably backdoor rulemaking … Continue Reading

Adler elected Acting Chair of CPSC in surprise

In what can only be described as a shocking turn of events, CPSC Commissioner Robert Adler (Dem.) has been elected Vice-Chair of the Commission. This means he will become the Acting Chairman of the Commission when current Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle steps down at the end of September. Since Buerkle announced she was withdrawing her nomination to be Chairman and would leave the CPSC at the end of her term this year, many assumed that Commissioner Peter Feldman (Rep.) would assume the Acting Chair role, as Republicans had recently gained a majority for the first time in more than … Continue Reading

CPSC targets furniture tip over hazard with substantial product hazard designation

At last week’s ICPHSO Annual Meeting, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle broke news to attendees, announcing that CPSC would deem “clothing storage units” that do not meet ASTM F2057-17 as posing a “substantial product hazard.” In concert with Buerkle’s announcement, CPSC’s Deputy Executive Director issued a letter to “Manufacturers, Importers, and Retailers of Clothing Storage Units” that effectively makes this existing voluntary safety standard mandatory.… Continue Reading

CPSC finalizes phthalate rule that may cause headaches for imports

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has finally published its Final Rule on phthalates. CPSC first proposed the rule nearly three years ago, and its publication brings to eight the number of phthalates included in CPSC’s consumer product safety standard for children’s toys and child care articles.

The rule is effective April 25, 2018 – but in a move that is likely to have serious implications for importers of record, it applies to children’s toys and child care articles domestically manufactured or imported on or after that date, regardless of date of manufacture. These products will need to … Continue Reading

CPSC removes seven plastic types from CPSIA third party testing for phthalates

In an effort to reduce the burdens of compliance with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has voted to remove seven types of plastics (containing specified additives) from the CPSIA’s mandatory third party testing requirement for phthalates in children’s toys and child care articles.  The Commission determined that the following types of plastics with specified additives do not contain regulated phthalates above the 1,000 parts per million limit in the CPSIA:

  • polypropylene (PP)
  • polyethylene (PE)
  • high-impact polystyrene (HIPS)
  • acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)
  • general-purpose polystyrene (GPPS)
  • medium-impact polystyrene (MIPS)
  • super-high-impact polystyrene (SHIPS)

The applicable … Continue Reading

What makes for a $15 million CPSC penalty?

CPSC just announced a record $15.4 million civil penalty settlement with Gree, manufacturers of dehumidifiers widely sold throughout the United States. While the magnitude of this blockbuster settlement makes it newsworthy, what it tells us about CPSC’s perspective on enforcement actions is the real story.

CPSC’s allegations

The limited allegations in the published settlement agreement allege that Gree failed to timely report to CPSC when it knew about the defect and fire hazard, that it knowingly made misrepresentations to CPSC staff during its investigation, and that it put UL safety certification marks on its products when it knew that the … Continue Reading

ICPHSO 2016: Chairman Kaye’s Keynote Address

CPSC Chairman Kaye gave the keynote address at ICPHSO CPSC Day, providing announcements on some CPSC policy changes and focusing on his priorities for the upcoming year. These include:

Reporting of products sold in the US, Canada, and Mexico

Chairman Kaye announced that CPSC is collaborating regularly with Health Canada and Profeco in Mexico. As part of that collaboration,  he said the agencies now will expect a company that reports to one of them to report to all of them if the product is sold in more than one of the jurisdictions.

I am interested to see how this plays … Continue Reading

ICPHSO 2016: Corded Blinds

CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye and Health Canada’s Acting Director General, Consumer Product Safety Directorate James Van Loon addressed ICPHSO and the media jointly, to announce that CPSC and Health Canada are united in their commitment to eliminate corded blinds due to the risk of injury to children from cords.

Chairman Kaye stated that he believes this is the year in which industry will commit to eliminating corded blinds, citing commitments  from IKEA, Target, Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s to phase the product configurations out.

Acting Director General Van Loon echoed Chairman Kaye’s comments, stating that both Health Canada and CPSC … Continue Reading

ICPHSO 2016: Breakout #2 – Challenges to Recalls

 

This panel, fully titled “Challenges to Recalls, How to Get Consumers to Respond to Recalls, and New Effective Ways to Reach Consumers,” featured Carolyn Carlin, Christoper Nguyen, and Tanya Topka from CPSC. Here are key points from the session.

Social Media:

  • CPSC Compliance Officer Carolyn Carlin stated that she not only expects recalling companies to use social media to communicate recalls, but she also expects tweets and Facebook posts to be reposted periodically, especially if a high number of marketing messages will follow soon after the recall post.
  • Fast Track Team Lead Tanya Topka sees a relationship between increased
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CPSC Day at ICPHSO 2016

Good morning from ICPHSO CPSC Day. Over the course of the day, I will post updates and highlights from CPSC Day, with particular focus on comments from CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye. I have added my thoughts throughout.

One call out – whenever CPSC personnel speak at ICPHSO, they disclaim their comments as their opinion only, and not on behalf of the Commission. In my experience, these opinions work there way into compliance issues and recalls.… Continue Reading

CPSC targets hoverboards

Late last week, the CPSC Office of Compliance and Field Operations issued a letter on the CPSC website to “Manufacturers, Importers, and Retailers of Self-Balancing Scooters” that ultimately makes a new voluntary safety standard for self-balancing scooters, typically called “hoverboards,” mandatory.

The “voluntary” standard

On February 2, 2016, UL issued its standard, UL 2272 – Outline of Investigation for Electrical Systems for Self-balancing Scooters, which covers the electric drive train, including the rechargeable battery and charger system. This standard complements UN/DOT 38.3 test requirements for lithium ion batteries.

CPSC’s Letter

CPSC’s letter states that hoverboards

that do not meet these

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CPSC continues to show it means business with Section 15(b) reporting

CPSC continues to show its intention to use Section 15(b) reporting claims as a tool to punish companies and deter the consumer products industry from taking its reporting obligations lightly. Earlier this year, CPSC Chairman Kaye stated that he is directing CPSC staff to push for significantly higher civil penalties for reporting violations settlements to let companies know that civil penalties are not just the “cost of doing business.” So far in 2015, it appears Chairman Kaye means business, with the only two civil penalty settlements to date totaling $2.6 and $3.5 million, respectively.

CPSC followed this up earlier this … Continue Reading

CPSC taking measured approach to laminate flooring

In the wake of the 60 Minutes report on laminate flooring and subsequent fallout for Lumber Liquidators, Chairman of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, Elliot Kaye, stated in a recent media call that the Commission is taking a measured approach to evaluating laminate flooring and formaldehyde exposure. While it may be easy to get caught up in the panic over the 60 Minutes report, Chairman Kaye has emphasized that the Commission is approaching this issue with public health and safety in mind – not short sellers.

Chairman Kaye explained that the Commission is focused on determining whether laminate flooring, … Continue Reading

Highlights from CPSC Day at ICPHSO 2015, part 2

CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye was the keynote speaker for CPSC Day, and he did not disappoint. Chairman Kaye’s speech focused on providing the consumer products industry with a sense of his priorities for the coming years, which I have listed below.

Pressure to increase civil penalty amounts

Chairman Kaye’s most notable comment was that he is directing CPSC staff to push for significantly higher civil penalties in CPSC settlements for failure to report and other violations of the CPSA.  Chairman Kaye stated that the significant increase of the civil penalty maximum (for each violation) and cap (for a series of … Continue Reading

Highlights from CPSC Day at ICPHSO 2015

We are here at the ICPHSO conference in Orlando for CPSC day. Key speakers from CPSC include Chairman Elliot Kaye, the Team Lead for Fast Track Recalls, the Director of Regulatory Enforcement, and the Director of Field Investigations. Here are highlights from the morning sessions on CPSC recalls and reporting, enforcement, and import issues.

Recalls and Reporting

  • Emphasis on joint recalls with Canada, and increased incorporation of Mexico into joint recalls.
  • Increased use of social media to publicize recalls, especially if recalling firms use social media to advertise products and communicate with customers.
  • Err on the side of reporting –
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CPSC proposes rule to ban additional phthalates

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to expand the ban on phthalates in Section 108 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

The CPSIA Section 108 ban on certain phthalates

Currently, Section 108 prohibits the phthalates DEHP, DBP, and BBP in concentrations above 0.1 percent (1,000 parts per million) in children’s toys and child care articles. CPSIA defines a children’s toy as “a consumer product designed or intended by the manufacturer for a child who is 12 years old or younger for use by the child when the child plays.” CPSIA defines child … Continue Reading

Timeliness of Section 15(b) reporting continues role as CPSC enforcement tool

As 2014 draws to a close, we see that Section 15(b)’s reporting requirement continues to be a powerful tool for CPSC to punish companies who manufacture, distribute, or sell products that are ultimately recalled. In 2014, CPSC entered into six settlements resolving Section 15(b) allegations that included civil penalties ranging from US$600,000 to US$4.3 million, representing the majority of all concluded CPSC enforcement actions in 2014.

Section 15(b) reporting

Section 15(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act requires companies that manufacture, distribute, import, or sell consumer products to immediately report to the Consumer Product Safety Commission products that do not … Continue Reading

Senate creates confusion with recall reporting bill

Senator Richard Blumenthal has introduced legislation, S.2615, known as the “Hide No Harm Bill,” that adds criminal liability to existing penalties for a company’s failure to immediately report to the applicable federal agency a known danger caused by a product.  While the language of S.2615 does not single out any particular product, if passed, its greatest impact will likely be on the automotive and consumer products industries.

S.2615 applies to any product “manufactured, assembled, designed, researched, imported, or distributed” in interstate commerce.  The bill mandates reporting to the federal agency with jurisdiction over a product within 24 hours of a … Continue Reading

CPSC defers controversial proposed rule on consumer product certification

In May 2013, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission proposed to modify the regulations that govern how manufacturers and importers certify that consumer products comply with consumer product safety requirements implemented by CPSC.  Retailers, manufacturers, suppliers, and logistics providers across a variety of industries expressed significant concern over the burdens created by CPSC’s proposal, especially as to how they issue compliance certificates.  CPSC had originally set a goal of issuing a Final Rule in 2014, but has now deferred action in order to take further public comment on its proposals.

Under the current scheme, promulgated by CPSC pursuant to the … Continue Reading

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