OnSafety is the Official Blog Site of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Here you'll find the latest safety information as well as important messages that will keep you and your family safe. We hope you'll visit often!


African Americans in Consumer Product Safety: Thaddeus Garrett Jr.

Thaddeus Garrett Jr.

Thaddeus Garrett Jr.(Corbis Images: Thaddeus Garrett showing Shirley Chisholm a report, 1971)

A genuine man with a love for God and public service, Reverend, Dr. Thaddeus Garrett Jr., served as a Commissioner and Vice-Chairman from 1976 to 1977. Although his time on the Commission was short, his positivity and hard work helped to keep the Commission together.

Before his appointment to CPSC, Garrett was a Special Assistant to former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller and Chief Assistant to former Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm. Once his role at CPSC ended, he was elected to the State Board of Education of Ohio where he served seven years, resigning to become Commissioner on the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.

In addition to his positions in product safety and international trade, Garrett was an ordained minister who served his lifelong church, Wesley Temple A.M.E. Zion Church in Akron, Ohio, as the associate minister. He was also named one of the 100 Most Influential Black Americans by Ebony Magazine of 1981.

Garrett loved working at CPSC and serving the people of Ohio.  Throughout his distinguished career, he was a genuine and faithful public servant.

Thank you, Dr. Thaddeus Garrett Jr.

This is the third of seven profiles of African Americans who made significant contributions to product safety in the United States.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2015/02/african-americans-in-consumer-product-safety-thaddeus-garrett-jr/

African Americans in Consumer Product Safety: Constance B. Newman

Constance B. NewmanConstance B. Newman: The Starting Five

Once the newly formed Consumer Product Safety Commission opened its doors in 1973, there was an immediate need for distinguished leadership, passion, and experience at the agency. Mrs. Constance B. Newman was a perfect fit for the job. She and David Pittle, Barbara Hackman Franklin, Lawrence M. Kushner, and Richard O. Simpson, were the “starting five” Commissioners.

Newman served as a Commissioner and Vice Chairman from 1973 through 1976. She is best known by her former colleagues as a passionate woman who focused on a broad range of product safety issues and took seriously her leadership role in a new and emerging agency.

Before her time with CPSC, Mrs. Newman was the Director of VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America). Her extensive experience in developing and managing policies and programs for the federal government, the District of Columbia, and international organizations contributed greatly to serving minority and vulnerable populations, including African Americans and Native Americans.

As an Assistant Director at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Newman focused on consumer issues for Native Americans and the elderly. She later co-founded the Newman and Hermanson Company, a consulting firm specializing in government regulatory procedures.

Newman’s time and dedication to consumer safety is remembered and appreciated.

Thank you, Mrs. Constance B. Newman.

This is the second of seven profiles of African Americans who made significant contributions to product safety in the United States.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2015/02/african-americans-in-consumer-product-safety-constance-b-newman/

African Americans in Consumer Product Safety: Henry Aaron Hill

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) was created in 1972 as a result of Congress passing and President Nixon signing the Consumer Product Safety Act. From its beginning, the agency has been charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with thousands of types of consumer products. In observance of Black History Month, CPSC recognizes African American leaders in product safety and applauds their contributions.

Henry Aaron HillHenry Aaron Hill: Keeping us safe from flammability hazards before there was a CPSC

Before the Consumer Product Safety Commission was created, there first was the National Commission on Product Safety, established in 1967. This is where we meet Mr. Henry Aaron Hill.

Hill was a pioneer in chemistry, focusing on polymer and fabric flammability. Hill helped birth the new polymer-products industry that introduced familiar products such as nylon and Teflon.

After forming his own company, National Polychemicals, Inc., Hill was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson to serve on the National Commission on Product Safety where he and the Commission recommended the creation of an independent federal regulatory agency to serve as an advocate for the consumer. Hill and the Commission also recommended that the new agency have the authority to issue mandatory safety standards for consumer products.

Hill’s passion for consumer safety and government accountability show in his comments about the Flammable Fabrics Act in 1970:

“The Federal Government’s approach to the problem has been ‘piecemeal, narrowly conceived and…highly ineffective.’ Since the 1967 fabrics law was passed, no new flammability standards have been promulgated. The [Health, Education, and Welfare] HEW Department has produced only one of the required annual reports to the President and Congress, and that was a year late. The Government continues to purchase flammable fabrics and clothing for its own use. Mandatory Federal standards for selected fabric items are necessary and long overdue.”

Following Hill’s time with the Commission, he became the first African American to be elected president of the American Chemical Society, an organization of chemistry and science professionals. With his vast knowledge of chemicals used in consumer products, Hill made a remarkable contribution to the safety of the African American community and the nation.

Thank you, Mr. Henry Aaron Hill.

This is the first of seven profiles of African Americans who made significant contributions to product safety in the United States.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2015/02/african-americans-in-consumer-product-safety/

Product Registration Cards: Think safety, not marketing

“Crib mattresses recalled due to risk of entrapment.” “Seven million brewing systems recalled due to burn hazard.” “Millions of popular strollers recalled due to fingertip amputation hazard to children.”

Headlines like these stream across the Internet and appear on TV almost weekly.  But, hearing or seeing a media headline about a product recall is different than getting a direct notice from a recalling company.

Here at CPSC, we know that direct notice—whether it be a phone call, an email, or a letter—is the best way to encourage you to take advantage of a recall to repair, replace, or refund.  And, one of the best tools that companies can use to reach you in the event of a recall is product registration cards.

Thanks to the “Danny Keysar Child Product Safety Notification Act,” today’s registration cards for infant and toddler products are not to be used for marketing.  The information requested, including the brand and model of the product and your e-mail address, must only be used to notify you in the event of a recall.

These registration cards can help improve the effectiveness of recalls, which is a challenge that our Chairman recently discussed with ABC News.  So we have a simple but important message to deliver to parents, childcare centers and other businesses: when you purchase a juvenile product, fill out the card.

Whether you use the card that comes with the product or register online, our message is the same: take the time to fill it out.

Success in this effort will mean that babies, toddlers, and young children will not be exposed to dangerous or defective products after they have been recalled. Parents, caregivers, and businesses will be notified, they will respond, and we will prevent a tragedy like the one that happened to Danny Keysar.

CPSC is not alone is spreading the word about registration cards.  The Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association has a valuable campaign called, “It’s not hard! Fill out the card!” Please check out their materials at: http://jpma.org/content/parents/registration-cards.  Also, Kids In Danger and the Consumer Federation of America have teamed up to provide families with a list of manufacturers that have product registration pages online: www.kidsindanger.org/productregistration.

In recent years, a new generation of safer juvenile products—including cribs, play yards, bassinets, strollers, and infant carriers—have entered the marketplace, thanks to new federal safety standards.  But, there is still the occasional recall of an infant or baby product.  To make sure you are notified in such a situation, you should fill out the card!

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2015/02/product-registration-cards-think-safety-not-marketing/

Winter Weather Warning: Safeguarding Against CO Poisoning with Portable Generators

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Winter weather can knock out power in its path.

If you are considering using a gasoline-powered portable generator to temporarily power appliances and heaters to cook and stay warm, you need to know these five facts.

FACT #1: The exhaust from portable generators contains poisonous carbon monoxide (CO) which can kill you and your family in minutes.

FACT #2: NEVER use a portable generator inside your home or garage. Run the generator OUTSIDE ONLY, at least 20 feet from the house and away from your home’s windows and vents to keep those harmful fumes away.

FACT #3: Carbon monoxide is an “invisible killer.” You cannot see or smell it. It can quickly incapacitate and kill you.

FACT #4: Have working CO alarms in your home.  There should be a CO alarm outside each sleeping area and on each level of your home.

FACT #5: If a CO alarm goes off, DO NOT ignore it. Get everyone out of the house and then call 911 and let firefighters handle it.

Take precautions against carbon monoxide, the “invisible killer.” Your life depends on it.


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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2015/01/winter-weather-warning-safeguarding-against-co-poisoning-with-portable-generators/