CPSC consumer deputies soon will begin a three-month nationwide survey of retail stores to check compliance with Federal labeling and packaging regulations for certain household products, chiefly drain cleaners, oven cleaners and lye products.
The consumer volunteers, trained by the field staff of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, will be canvassing retail store shelves to find out if those products conform to the child-resistant packaging regulations of the Poison Prevention Packaging Act (PPPA) and the cautionary labeling requirements of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA). The Commission administers both of those Acts.
These household products contain sodium and/or potassium hydroxide and may cause severe internal damage if swallowed by children and may injure external tissue by chemical burns.
Under Poison Prevention Packaging Act regulations, manufacturers must use child-resistant packaging for dry substances containing 10 percent or more sodium and/or potassium hydroxide or for liquid, paste or aerosol products, containing two percent or more sodium and/or potassium hydroxide.
To aid elderly and handicapped persons, Section 4 of the PPPA allows manufacturers to use conventional packaging for one size of a particular product, if it is labeled with the statement "This Package for Households Without Young Children," and is also available in complying packaging. However, liquid drain cleaners containing 10 percent or more sodium/potassium hydroxide are banned unless packaged with child-resistant closures.
The Federal Hazardous Substances Act regulations require manufacturers to label drain cleaners, oven cleaners, and lye products with precautionary warnings and first aid information.
The consumer deputies will present store managers with letters of introduction, check the products involved for compliance with the laws and inform the store manager if it appears the store is selling any non-complying goods.
Consumer deputies are not official CPSC employees and have no legal authority to require stores which may be selling non-complying products to take any action.
However, it is hoped that retailers will cooperate in this effort by asking their suppliers to verify whether or not questionable products are in compliance with Federal regulations. For further information on the consumer deputy program, interested persons may call the Commission's toll-free hotline number: 800/638-2772, or write the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, D.C. 20207.