Online Payday Loans No Fax Online Payday Loans No Fax

CPSIA – CPSC Recalls Baby Product for Missing Warning Label

Striking a new low for the Nanny State, the CPSC last week recalled 1.7 million baby monitors/cameras for a missing warning label.

Let me repeat – this recall was over a missing warning label.

There is no sign from the announcement that the warning label was required by law – this is apparently an ex post facto requirement dreamt up by the CPSC.

Anyone ever heard of cost/benefit analysis in the U.S. government???

So what was the hazard? As with many baby product recalls, there were two deaths of infants involved. Two children, one six months old and one 20 months old, strangled on cords attached to baby monitors made by a company called Summer. As Summer notes on its recall notice, there have been seven strangulations since 2004 involving cords on baby monitors placed in or near cribs, but only two involved Summer products. This is NOT a product recall, as they clarify – they are providing new stickers, a new guide and some clips to hold cords. It was a “voluntary” recall, or so the company says.

Let me get this out of the way: I am as regretful as the next person about the tragic death of two toddlers. I do not discount the significance of that loss.

However . . . dangling cords near a crib is a bad idea that most parents recognize. This is not specific to baby monitors, either. Check out the CPSC’s illustration of the hazard:

This is the same hazard as ANY electrical device near a crib – a light, a radio, a humidifier, you name it. This is NOT a specific hazard of the baby monitor in question, nor of any specific electrical device. One wonders why the CPSC chose to recall this product or why they called their action a “recall”.

It is unfortunately elemental that cords near a crib can maim or kill. This is no different than the hazard presented by the cords on blinds near a crib. It is very sad that such terrible accidents have happened seven times over eight years. That’s seven unnecessary tragedies no doubt caused by mistake or simple error. Nonetheless, it is NOT the responsibility of the manufacturer or the State to guarantee good luck or good parenting. Some hazards are for the parents to manage. At a certain point, individual responsibility must be asserted.

As a manufacturer, the fiat of a federal agency issuing a RECALL for a missing warning label is terrifying, especially under these circumstances. Of course, consumers are becoming jaded by endless recalls, too. As the agency loses ALL perspective on which hazards deserve regulatory attention (everything seems to be a hazard these days), and blaring headlines numb everyone to the signficance of recalls in general, it is hard to resist cynicism. The CPSC with all the good intentions in the world . . . is starting to make a mockery of itself.

It’s a mania. Somebody help us.

Read more here:
CPSIA – CPSC Recalls Baby Product for Missing Warning Label

CPSIA – CPSC Kicks The Can Down The Road

About ten minutes after my last blogpost, the CPSC extended the stay on testing and certification until September 14, 2011. See the text of the announcement here.

You may decide for yourself whether congratulations are in order.

More later.

Read more here:
CPSIA – CPSC Kicks The Can Down The Road

CPSIA – Nancy Nord Announces a Delay in the "15 Month Rule"

As hinted at in this space on Thursday, the CPSC is apparently going to delay the issuance of the so-called “15 Month Rule”. In Nancy Nord’s new blog, she provides the following important information:

“Periodic Testing – On a related issue, the CPSIA requires that we issue a rule setting out further testing requirements within 15 months of enactment (November, 2009). The agency will not meet that deadline in spite of best efforts to do so. This issue is extremely complex and we need additional input from the affected public before we give answers. The staff will hold workshops on December 10th and 11th to seek public participation. A Federal Register notice will be published with details about the workshop and will also provide details for those who wish to submit written comments. In addition, a draft “Guidance Document on Testing and Certification” will be discussed with the Commission at a public meeting on November 9th. See http://www.cpsc.gov for webcast details.” [Emphasis added]

This is good news for the business community on several levels. First of all, the CPSC is now communicating informally through at least one blog. While it increases the number of places to watch for legal developments, you can’t beat candor and openness. In addition, the CPSC is doing the considerate thing – giving advanced notice of a material event (the delay in this much-anticipated and much-feared rule). They are being nice, which is MUCH appreciated.

Finally, the Commission is being candid and admitting a small failure. [In fact, the admission is being done in a bi-partisan way, as Democrat Tenenbaum presumably consented to Republican Nord announcing this development in her new blog.] It is somewhat more complex than that, in fact. This is probably not best understood as a failure of the CPSC (although they are going to miss a date). They are CHOOSING to miss a date. Why? My guess is that they realize how important this rulemaking is, and are probably troubled by what the rule would look like under the (defective) CPSIA. It’s a public acknowledgement, the strongest in a long while, by the agency that it is genuinely troubled by the unintended consequences compelled by the new law. Withholding the 15 Month Rule is a sign of resistance against doing more damage in the marketplace.

The CPSC has heard from many stakeholders that this rule could be the final straw. I think it’s fair to assume that they do not want to do more damage. It is a bi-partisan worry, too – which is in the character of the CPSC over the years. They have not traditionally been the enemy of the business community, so it is nice to see them act with consideration again. Rumorville has it that the CPSC Staff could not find the magic words to make this rulemaking “work”. Good to admit it. There’s a lot implicit in that statement, most of it very good.

In my comment to the Nancy Nord blog, I ask the Commission to use the plain English meaning of the statute to make their decisions. If they cannot make a sensible decision using the plain English meaning of the words (e.g., does “any” mean “any” or not?), then the Commission should go to Congress and ask for an amendment. A statutory scheme based on twisting words into pretzels does not serve anyone’s interests. To understand our obligations, we go to the statute and read it. How can we run our businesses if there is a super-secret meaning to plain English words? Are we expected to master hundreds of pages of releases spread of months or years to discover the nugget explaining that “any” doesn’t mean “any”? This kind of treasure hunt inevitably fails. [If you like treasure hunts, see my recent blogpost on resale shops.]

Importantly, the CPSC has announced a two-day meeting on the 15 Month Rule on December 10/11. This is a critical meeting for all stakeholders. Please try to make it. I will be there.

Bottom line, this announcement is another gratefully-received sign of a shift in the wind. Let’s see whether more good follows in coming weeks. We now have more dots to connect. It would be wonderful to be able to trust the CPSC and the law again. Guys, please keep plugging away!

Read more here:
CPSIA – Nancy Nord Announces a Delay in the "15 Month Rule"

CPSIA – Californization Continues

On September 29, the EPA’s top administrator announced that the Obama Administration would announce the long-awaited amendment of the Toxic Substances Control Act. This announcement came in a speech in San Francisco, the home of all good regulations. The Scientific American states: “As a result, she said the Obama Administration will promote a new chemical law in Congress in the coming months that puts the responsibility on industry to prove that its compounds are safe.” Sound familiar? The EPA also announced a new investigation of phthalates, perhaps attempting to blunt any effort to discredit the ban in the CPSIA.

In another “Brave New World” quote from the article featuring the not-enough-government, not-enough-regulation official: “‘As more and more chemicals are found in our bodies and the environment, the public is understandably anxious and confused. Many are turning to government for assurance that chemicals have been assessed using the best available science, and that unacceptable risks haven’t been ignored,’ Jackson told an audience of several hundred people during a speech at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on Tuesday night. An audience member asked if the EPA would add the right of citizens to sue for non-compliance of the law, a provision that lies within the Clean Water Act. ‘That’s a great idea,’ she said, and ‘it was certainly something to consider.’” [Emphasis added]

Hey, Chemical Industry – welcome to our misery! Why don’t you embrace this change with enthusiasm – appeasement really worked wonders in the case of the CPSIA.

Read more here:
CPSIA – Californization Continues