Limited Power of the CPSC
February 19, 2007 (WPVI) -- The Consumer Product Safety Commission is in charge of keeping dangerous products off store shelves and out of American homes. But right now the agency is handcuffed from fulfilling some of its duties.
Consumer advocates worry the passage of life-saving policy is being delayed. The CPSC is the federal agency that issues product recalls and decides on new safety rules, but its commissioners are powerless to vote right now and the only person who can fix that is President Bush.
Action News tested children's jewelry two and a half years ago and learned much of it had dangerously high levels of lead. Two months later, the CPSC issued its largest recall ever, taking 150 million pieces of the jewelry off store shelves and later staff members at the CPSC recommended the commission effectively ban lead in all children's jewelry.
"They can't move forward with that rule now because they don't have enough commissioners to vote for it," Beth McConnell from PennPIRG said.
Federal rules require three CPSC commissioners to vote on new safety standards. But the agency has had only two commissioners since Hal Stratton resigned last summer.
Federal law does allow just two commissioners to vote for six months after a vacancy has been created but the problem is that those six months expired on January 15th.
"We're very concerned that the Bush Administration has not acted to make sure the CPSC has the staff it needs and the resource and authority it needs to protect consumers," said McConnell.
"At this point no regulatory action is being affected by the loss of quorum," said Julie Vallese of the CPSC.
The CPSC said its staff is still in the research phase of all pending rules and not yet ready to present its findings for the commission's vote anyway.
"Consumers in the United States should feel comfortable that the CPSC is still at work and still maintaining a safe marketplace," Vallese said.
But for how long, insiders say President Bush's choice to fill the CPSC vacancy is Michael Baroody, the executive vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers, a trade group that opposes aggressive product safety regulation.
"So it's up to the Congress to ask the tough questions if appointed by the CPSC," McConnell said.
The White House had no comment Monday about Baroody's possible nomination. Now legislation that would restore the commission's authority has been proposed.
- Center City high rise evacuated due to fire
- 15 motorcyclists arrested following NJ chase ID'd
- New sighting reported of missing student's car
- Cherry Hill East student injured in crash
- Man convicted of murder in Pa. musician's slaying
- Police: Driver under influence crashes into fire dept.
- Surveillance video released in food vendor murder
- Appoquinimink teacher arrested for indecent exposure
- Bucks County bear now spotted in Bristol Twp.
- Yahoo takes big leap with $1.1B deal for Tumblr