Nord Stepping Down As CPSC Chair. Nancy Nord, the acting chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, will step down from that position on June 1, handing the lame duck throne to fellow commissioner Thomas Moore. Nord plans to remain a commissioner until her term ends in 2012. Moore will remain acting chair until the Senate confirms a new commissioner to that seat. Confirmation hearings for Inez Moore Tenenbaum, President Obama’s pick for that role, have not yet been scheduled. [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
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There’s been a lot of talk lately about how the upcoming implementation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). The law requires that all children’s products be tested for lead and has caused a major freak out amongst librarians (who don’t really want to test their books for lead, or ban children from the library) and thrift stores (who can’t afford to test used toys for lead). Apparently, according to consumer groups that support the bill, the CPSC is supposed to be monitoring this situation and adding exceptions as needed, but has been ignoring the issue. Now those groups are asking President Obama for a change of leadership within the CPSC. Read their letter inside.
Reselling your kid’s used clothing could soon violate federal law. Come February 10, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act will prevent retailers from selling children’s products that haven’t been certified as lead free. Old hand-me-downs, of course, haven’t been certified for anything more than running around the yard. Parents are worried, petitions are being drawn up, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission isn’t doing much to clarify the law.
Step back from the ledge, makers of lovingly hand-carved wooden dolls: the Consumer Product Safety Commission has lurched into action and tentatively agreed to exempt some materials and items from the lead-testing requirements in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.
In this letter (PDF) sent to CPSC chair Nancy Nord, and released to the public, Consumers Union and a bunch of other consumer interest groups ask the CPSC to please do its part to clear up all the confusion over the coming Toy Testing Apocalypse. Don’t want to read the whole thing? Here’s a much shorter summary:
First the FAA makes their own inspectors cry in front of Congress and now the Associated Press says that the head of the federal inspectors’ union is alleging that the USDA told him to “drop the matter” when he reported food safety violations at slaughterhouses. When he refused, he was placed on “disciplinary investigative status.”
Unlike Nancy Nord (she’s the CPSC boss that tried to hint to Congress that her agency needed more funding through sly winks and interpretive dance numbers), the FDA chief is ignoring Bush’s “do not ask for more money” rule and demanding more funds.
Consumer Reports takes issue with some of the statements CPSC chairperson Nancy Nord said in a recent speech:
Tragedy struck last week in Washington as the nation’s sole full-time toy tester, Robert L. Hundemer, retired from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Hundemer unwittingly became the symbol of the CPSC’s inability to ensure the safety of the nation’s toys when, during Congressional testimony, CPSC Chair Nancy Nord repeatedly referred to him as “Bob, our small parts guy.”
If pending legislation passes, the CPSC may make retailers test their wares, and make retailers legally responsible for the products they sell. CPSC chair Nancy Nord said yesterday at a press conference, “the ultimate responsibility at the end of the day to make sure that their products are safe and if they do not, we will take enforcement activity at the product sellers.”
Last week, the House of Representatives voted 407-to-0 to approve a consumer product safety bill that greatly increases the scope and power of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Today the House of Representatives unanimously approved H.R. 4040, the Consumer Product Safety Commission Modernization Act of 2007, that virtually eliminates lead from children’s toys (down to 100 parts per million by 2012) and increases the funding of the CPSC. A Senate committee approved its own version of an anti-lead/pro-CPSC bill in October, but it hasn’t reached a floor vote yet—so sometime (early?) next year a final bill should be hammered out to send to the White House. Unless, of course, the lead toy furor disappears after Christmas.
Nancy Nord and the CPSC have published what might the densest collection of common sense “advice” we’ve ever seen: the “2008 Holiday Decoration Safety Tips” brochure, which you can download here if you need to. Among their tips: buy fire-resistant or non-flammable items whenever possible, don’t leave candles unattended, and don’t overwhelm the CPSC with “too much” power.
A letter to the editor by CPSC chairperson Nancy was published in the Washington Post today. She feels that the Washington Post misrepresented the nature of several trips she took, trips which were paid for in full or in part by companies under her agency’s domain. Particularly, she got peeved about people saying how the CPSC has only one toy inspector.
Today the White House will announce its own plan for how to tighten the country’s slack product safety practices. The proposal is being offered as an alternative to the one Congress has come up with, which the White House—along with industry trade groups and Consumer Product Safety Commission head Nancy A. Nord—think is too mean to manufacturers.
The White House version suggests stationing inspectors in other countries to inspect goods before they are shipped to U.S. shores, because “with $2 trillion in imports annually, inspections at the ports had become ineffective.” We’re not sure how the math works on that one—unless sharks or pirates consume large amounts of imports during transit, the same number of goods leave foreign ports and arrive at ours, and having inspectors all in one place where they can work together, instead of spread out in each foreign country, seems a more efficient use of resources. But we’re probably just stupid from too much lead.
CPSC head Nancy Nord took scores of trips paid for lobbyists representing companies under her regulatory scope, Washington Post reports. The trips include $11,000 in “gift travel” to China, paid for by a fireworks company. The Toy Industry Association paid for her train ticket, hotel, meals, and parking ticket to attend their toy convention in New York. Federal agencies are barred from taking gifts from industry groups with pending matters before them, but other top agencies are more strict about accepting gifts from companies under their domain. By some sort of magical coincidence, the travel records disclosure come at time Nord is facing calls for her resignation for disagreeing with the new changes and expansions Congress is considering for the CPSC.
Despite Democrats clamoring for her resignation, CPSC chair Nancy Nord says she’s staying put. Nord is a shill-bag. She couldn’t answer direct questions from Congress. She couldn’t even say “yes” when they asked her if the CPSC needed more money. Toss all the bums out and get some new ones in quick.