Time to Put Consumer Product Safety First at Federal Agency

May 5, 2009

Time to Put Consumer Product Safety First at Federal Agency

Statement of David Arkush, Director, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division

We applaud President Obama’s statement this morning that the safety of American consumers is one of the top priorities of his administration. His appointments of Inez Moore Tenenbaum to chair the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Robert Adler to serve on the commission are hopeful first steps in overhauling this long marginalized federal agency.

The appointment of Ms. Tenenbaum, a successful superintendant of education in South Carolina, could not come soon enough. Just last year, Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which granted the agency new authority to protect consumers from dangerous products. We are hopeful that Ms. Tenenbaum will use her demonstrated leadership experience to ensure that the new law is fully and completely implemented.

The president’s appointment of an additional commissioner, Mr. Adler, is also a critical step forward for the agency. The implementation of the new law has been stymied in part because the commission has been operating with only two – out of a possible five – commissioners who often held divergent views on how to accomplish the act’s requirements. Mr. Adler brings to the commission more than just an additional vote; he is a recognized expert on product safety who has substantial experience with the agency.

With its new resources – effective leadership, additional funding and new authority under the new law – the CPSC may finally have the tools it needs to fulfill its mission to protect the public from unsafe products.

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