CPSC Approves New Federal Safety Rule for Hair Dryers

The passage of this new rule provides CPSC with more authority to (1) stop shipments of violative hair dryers at U.S. ports of entry, and (2) issue product recalls of violative hair dryers.
June 9, 2011
Release Number: 11-242

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) unanimously approved (5-0) the establishment of a new federal safety rule on hand-supported hair dryers. Hand-supported hair dryers that lack an immersion protection device have been identified by CPSC as posing a substantial product hazard to consumers. The passage of this new rule provides CPSC with more authority to (1) stop shipments of violative hair dryers at U.S. ports of entry, and (2) issue product recalls of violative hair dryers.

Hand-supported hair dryers typically are used in bathrooms, near water sources, including the sink, bathtub, and lavatory. When there is no immersion protection device present, the uninsulated, electrically energized wires in the hair dryer present a risk of shock and electrocution to consumers.

Current industry standards require that manufacturers incorporate a device into the hair dryer that prevents shock and/or electrocution hazards when it contacts water. Industry voluntary standards, which require an immersion protection device, have contributed to a significant decline in electrocutions or electrical shock incidents related to immersion or contact with water. The majority of manufacturers and distributors of hand-supported hair dryers comply with these voluntary industry standards.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008 provided CPSC with the authority to establish federal safety rules for consumer products that have demonstrated substantial compliance with a voluntary standard or set of guidelines.

The CPSIA defines a "substantial product hazard," in these circumstances, as a product defect that creates a substantial risk of injury to the public.