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CPSC Rejects Industry Attempt to Eliminate Safety Rule for Children's Folding Stools

November 08, 2022

Today, the Commission voted unanimously to stop industry from removing an entire category of children’s products from safety standards: folding stools.  Without our vote today, ASTM’s step backwards would have become a binding federal rule under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).  By rejecting the exclusion, we are keeping kids safe. 

If industry wants the Commission to adopt its standards, it must continuously improve the safety of children’s products in each revision.  In this case, it tried to pair a reduction in safety alongside a change that would have increased safety—a new test to keep kids’ heads from getting trapped.  On net, safety would have been reduced by the changes.  That is unacceptable.  

We are confident that today’s vote will create the right incentives for industry to correct its course.  We expect it to propose a new revision including only its safety-positive change, and dropping its safety-negative change.  Under CPSIA, once ASTM makes that change, the Commission will have the power to harmonize industry’s voluntary standards with federal law and improve safety. 

I issue the following warning: going forward, if a voluntary standard is revised to include changes that materially improve safety alongside changes that materially decrease safety, I will vote to keep the good and reject the bad, as authorized under CPSIA.  To be clear, we have often received revisions that consist of little more than corrections to errors.  While it may benefit ASTM to publish those changes, it does not benefit consumers.  Using our scarce resources to review changes with de minimis safety effects is a poor use of time.  In my view, CPSIA strikes a bargain that I intend to enforce: if ASTM would like binding federal standards to match its private voluntary standards, then it must ensure that every substantive change materially improves the safety of American children. 

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