The Consumer Product Safety Commission Wants New, Improved Powers

Acting CPSC Chair Nancy Nord met last week with industry representatives and Consumer Reports to discuss the Commission’s desire to gain new regulatory powers. The Commission currently operates under a 35-year-old law that they want Congress to modify. The CPSC’s wish list is encouraging:

New Powers
• The CPSC wants to make it illegal sell a product after the announcement of a recall.
• The Commission wants the power to quickly codify voluntary industry standards, which are currently unenforceable by the CPSC.

Improved Powers
• Companies will have 10 days, down from 30, to respond to Commission inquiries.
• The process by which manufacturers and importers certify that their products meet relevant standards would be made more public.
• The $1.85 million cap on civil penalties would be raised. The House is considering a revised cap of $20 million.

The CPSC must still convince Congress and the President to grant the new and improved powers, and may release a formal proposal as early as next week. They can expect fierce opposition from the business lobby, aided by the likes of withdrawn CPSC nominee Michael Baroody. When the proposal reaches Congress, we hope that the needs of the public will trump the selfish moneyed interests of industry.

CPSC discusses proposed changes in rules, policies [Consumer Reports]
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