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From Products Liability Law Daily, June 18, 2015

Chairman Kaye calls for additional financial support of CPSC’s Risk Assessment Program

By Pamela C. Maloney, J.D.

Testifying before a U.S. Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data SecurIty during oversight hearings, Chairman Elliot F. Kaye of the Consumer Product Safety Committee stressed that the agency cannot fully implement Congress’s mandate to develop a Risk Assessment methodology designed to stop the importation of non-complying products into the United States without a permanent funding mechanism such as user fees.

Section 222 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 mandates that the Commission work with Customs and Border Protection to develop a Risk Assessment methodology to identify the consumer products likely to violate any of the laws enforced by CPSC. In 2011, CPSC created a small-scale pilot that has been successful. However, in his remarks, Kaye emphasized that the pilot alone does not fulfill the congressional mandate and without full implementation, the agency will not be able to integrate the program into the much larger government-wide effort to create a “Single Window” for import and export of all products.

Kaye also discussed the agency’s budget proposal with regard to the emerging health and safety questions associated with the rapidly growing use of nanomaterials in consumer products. He noted that “while the federal government has invested billions of dollars into driving research into the expansion of the use of nanomaterials, there has been a significant lag in assessing possible health effects of human exposure to nanomaterials in consumer products, especially to vulnerable populations such as ... children.” Kaye stated his belief that unless CPSC drives this work as it relates to consumer products, no other federal agency will take responsibility.

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