Release date: September 12, 1994
Release number: 94-126

Release Details

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that Chairman Ann Brown awarded the CPSC Chairman's Commendation for Significant Contributions to Product Safety to Sunbeam Plastics of Evansville, Ind., a division of the Rexham Co.

Chairman Brown gave the commendation to Sunbeam for its long-term commitment to developing innovative and effective senior-friendly, child-resistant packaging for a broad range of consumer products. Since passage of the Poison Prevention Packaging Act in 1970, childhood poisoning deaths declined from about 450 to about 50 per year.

Chairman Brown said, "CPSC estimates that about 700 children's lives have been saved by the child-resistant packaging required by the act. The Poison Prevention Packaging Act is one of government's greatest success stories. While CPSC helped dramatically reduce child poisonings, 50 deaths a year is 50 deaths too many. Poison control centers across the country still receive nearly one million calls a year, reporting child ingestions and poisoning near-misses."

Many of these ingestions occur when the child resistant caps are left open, removed, or replaced with a regular cap. People, who have arthritis or do not have the agility or strength to open child resistant caps, leave the hard-to-open closures off the bottles to get to their medicine when they need it. Sunbeam has developed packaging that will be easier for adults of all ages to use, thereby saving children's lives. This commendation underscores how CPSC is working with industry to recognize and encourage safety features in products that protect consumers. We want to promote the message that 'safety sells' to both industry and consumers."

Chairman and CEO of the Rexham Co., Eric Priestly, accepted the commendation today on behalf of the company at an award ceremony at the Willard Hotel in Washington. Sunbeam developed the safety caps to protect a large number of people in advance of mandatory regulations or voluntary standards.

Chairman Brown previously gave the commendation to Playskool for designing the 1-2-3 High Chair with a safety restraint that will help save children's lives and to Procter and Gamble for a senior-friendly, child-resistant safety closure on mouthwash packaging.

Chairman Brown initiated the commendation program to recognize substantial contributions to product safety by individuals, companies, or groups for one-time, ongoing, or multiple actions. Nominees for the award, which will be given periodically, may be brought to the Chairman's attention. Chairman Brown will consider the following factors in choosing award recipients:

-Actions that contribute to reducing hazards to children and other vulnerable populations;

-Voluntary actions that are not mandated by government regulations, that anticipate government regulations, or that go beyond what the government requires;

-Developments that affect the safety of large numbers of individuals;

-Innovations or improvements to existing products; and

-Safety devices, packaging, warnings, or products that enhance consumer safety.

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