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Readout of the Chairman’s “State of Product Safety” Speech at the ICPHSO Annual Meeting

MARCH 02, 2015

Office of Communications | For Immediate Release

Chairman Elliot F. Kaye on February 25 delivered the “State of Product Safety” address at the annual meeting of the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization in Orlando, Fla.  During his remarks before 700 retailers, manufacturers, consumer advocates, testing laboratories, and foreign regulators, the Chairman spoke about CPSC’s request of Congress for additional authorities to expand the agency’s risk-based approach to inspecting imported consumer products.  The Chairman also discussed CPSC’s efforts to contribute to the President’s Executive Order establishing a “single window” for the screening and processing of imported goods by December 2016.


The Chairman also highlighted innovative approaches being taken by manufacturers of coin cell batteries, above-ground swimming pool slides, and others to demonstrate strong corporate courage and leadership to solving safety problems.


Two retailers were praised by the Chairman for taking the extraordinary step of deciding to only sell cordless window coverings or window coverings with inaccessible cords.  One retailer will make this shift in 2015 and the other will change their product selections in 2016.  The Chairman called upon three remaining national retailers to help prevent child strangulations by making the same commitment.


With the passage in 2008 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, the agency’s ceiling for imposing civil penalties was raised to $15 million.  During his remarks, the Chairman stated, “I don't think, from my perspective as the Chairman of the agency, that we are seeing civil penalties that are reflective of what Congress expected and demanded of us in the CPSIA.  My direction to CPSC staff is to make sure that they're starting early in the process, and whenever they get a case that falls under the new amount, they are pushing as hard as the facts allow and the law permits for a civil penalty that is much more reflective of what Congress intended.


He added:  “I have a real concern from some of the fact patterns that I've seen, that civil penalties are seen as nothing more than the cost of doing business. So my directions to CPSC staff are: When it's deserved, we want to see higher civil penalties.”


The Chairman also shared with the ICPHSO community that the Commission and the staff are committed to finding solutions to reduce any unnecessary third party testing costs from being imposed on manufacturers associated with certain independent testing requirements.  The Chairman stressed that any steps to reduce testing burdens must be done while assuring compliance with CPSC’s vital child safety rules. 

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