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Chair Hoehn-Saric Statement on Vote to Implement Reese’s Law

September 11, 2023

On December 17, 2020, 18-month-old Reese Hamsmith died from injuries sustained when she  swallowed a coin cell battery. Since that time, her mother, Trista Hamsmith, has worked  tirelessly to protect other children from the hazards posed by these small batteries. Called coin  cell or button batteries because of their size and shape, these batteries are found in everyday  household products and can be deadly if swallowed.  

Ms. Hamsmith engaged with Congressional champions – including Senators Richard Blumenthal  and Marsha Blackburn, as well as Reps. Robin Kelly and Jodey Arrington – who pushed for  legislation to strengthen safety standards for battery packaging and the products that use these  batteries. Thanks to their determined efforts, Reese’s Law was signed by President Biden in  August 2022.  

I am pleased that the CPSC is issuing final rules implementing Reese’s Law. We’ve made a  determination that the newly updated UL standard for battery enclosures on consumer  products meets the requirements of the law. And we’ve issued a final rule regarding warnings  on button and coin cell battery packaging. Together, these rules will improve safety for children  nationwide.  

Reese’s Law and the Commission’s action today make strong safety requirements for battery  enclosures on consumer products the law of the land. Recognizing that industry will need to  improve the safety of their products and there will be limited testing ability for this universe of  products that have never had to be tested for compliance with such standards, we are  providing a 180-day period of enforcement discretion.  

I thank Trista Hamsmith and the Congressional champions of this legislation for all of their work  to provide the Commission with expedited authority to address this safety hazard. I also want  to thank the CPSC staff for providing the necessary support and analysis to bring us to this  important moment. With these changes, we will help reduce the number of deaths and injuries  from these consumer products. I am pleased that my colleagues and I were able to do our part  to finalize this important mandatory safety standard.

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