Ken, thank you very much for that kind introduction.
Welcome to the inaugural CPSC Safety Academy! This event is another step forward in our outreach to all facets of the business community - from small businesses, such as home crafters and sole-proprietorships, to medium- and large-sized manufacturers. We are here to help.
Our goal today is simple, but important: to provide you with the information you need to understand and comply with CPSC's requirements.
We have developed an exceptional selection of panels that we believe will answer many of your questions, and provide you with additional clarity and predictability. However, if you still have questions after the panels conclude, I encourage you to seek out a CPSC specialist for more information.
We are working hard at the CPSC to provide resources to business - both small and large. Our Office of Education, Global Outreach, and Small Business Ombudsman - what we call "EXGO" - is here to help you.
While our speakers are both domestic and foreign - as seen by our friends from China, Canada and Brazil who have travelled to be here today - we are easy to reach. We are your neighbors and colleagues, and we want you to be successful.
Business can always reach our "EXGO" at a very simple e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to hear from you!
I am also pleased to announce that we are adding additional social media to our outreach. We are starting to use the social media platform, Slideshare, as another tool to communicate effectively to business. One of our very first postings will be the slides from today's program.
This takes me to the second part of my talk this morning, and that is CPSC's safety agenda.
Many of the talented employees at CPSC - and truly, there are many - are working to make our agency even more proactive and to continue to pursue our vision to be the recognized global leader in consumer product safety.
The safety agenda I would like to share with all of you today will guide CPSC in the months and years ahead. It is an agenda that advances consumer protection.
High on that agenda is a series of projects that, once completed, have the potential to save hundreds of lives and prevent thousands of injuries each year.
I'm referring to:
- Monitoring and enforcing compliance with the new crib safety standards, which are the strongest in the world; and
- continuing to promulgate new consumer product safety standards for durable infant and toddler products under the Danny Keysar Child Product Safety Notification Act, or what we call "Danny's Law." As some of you may know, Danny Keysar was killed in Chicago in 1998, when the previously recalled play yard in which he was napping, collapsed, suffocating him. This year, we completed a mandatory rule for play yards in honor of Danny and his family. We have also completed mandatory rules for bath seats, walkers, toddler beds, and portable bed rails. Also in the works this year, are a final rules for infant swings and proposed rules for bassinets, bedside sleepers, strollers, and infant carriers.
- CPSC staff is continuing to work on portable gas generators, which were involved in 688 carbon monoxide-related deaths in the United States between 1999 and 2011. Our engineers have worked with engineers from the University of Alabama to develop a prototype technology that will reduce the CO emission rate from generators and give residents more time to escape from being poisoned by CO from a portable generator. We have developed media campaigns before and after every natural disaster to remind consumers that using a generator indoors can kill you in minutes. But, the fact that we are still seeing a high number of deaths and injuries associated with portable generators means that we need to explore technical solutions that can save lives. Just last week, we released a remarkable new study. The study demonstrates that readily available technology can dramatically reduce deadly CO emission rates from certain portable gasoline powered generators. This technology could save lives by increasing the escape time from eight minutes to 96 minutes. That's big news and I hope the generator industry will turn our research into innovation.
- Recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs) are a popular product in the United States. However, ROVs come with risks - risks compounded by the fact that these vehicles are designed to carry passengers. There have been more than 170 deaths over the past nine years related to the use of ROVs. We started rulemaking in December 2009, and we are moving toward a proposed rule to make these vehicles safer - safer in terms of occupant protection, stability, and steering performance.
- All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) - another type of off-road vehicle - are popular in rural parts of the country, and they too remain a serious concern to the agency and to me. With more than 700 deaths per year, ATVs are one of the most deadly products we oversee. We have been doing grassroots education and technical research for years. As part of our rulemaking process, we are holding a 2-day All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Summit on October 11 and 12. This summit will provide the opportunity for stakeholders to present their viewsand isyet another example of our engagement with all stakeholders to find solutions to improve product safety.
- There are two fairly new rulemakings that I also want to share with you because they address very serious risks:
- The first concerns table saws. Would you believe that, every day, 11 people suffer amputations in the United States from using table saws that cut wood? It's true. We are exploring solutions at the CPSC to save people from these life-altering injuries.
- The other deals with gel fuels and firepots. In December, the Commission voted unanimously to publish an advance notice of proposed rulemaking, just months after nearly all bottles of pourable gel fuel used in firepots were recalled. The ANPR was prompted by the number of serious injuries and deaths. We are aware of 65 incidents that have resulted in two deaths and at least 34 victims who were hospitalized. The victims had second- and third-degree burns of the face, chest, hands, arms or legs, after ignited gel fuel splattered on them. The ANPR is exploring the question of whether it is possible to make gel fuel safe for consumers to use.
A common attribute that runs through all of the product safety activities I just discussed is the team leaders and technical staff at the CPSC who own this work and are experts in their field.
I'm proud of the work they are doing, and I know they want to advance consumer safety in these areas.
I know they want to prevent injuries and deaths from entrapments, suffocations, rollovers, CO poisonings, fires, and finger amputations.
We are a forward-looking agency at CPSC, but it is necessary, on occasion, for us to take a moment and look back at our accomplishments.
Since more stringent rules were established in 2008, recalls of toys and recalls of toys due to lead violations have declined 80 percent.
Since the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act went into effect in December of 2008, no child has died from the horrific hazard of a pool drain entrapment.
Since our website, SaferProducts.gov, was launched in March 2011, more than 8,000 consumer incident reports have been posted online for the public to have open access to review.
Independent, third party testing of children's products is now taking place in North Carolina, New Jersey, Illinois, and Tennessee. It is also happening in Beijing, Milan, Guangdong, and Jakarta.
Independent testing of children's products is the capstone of the CPSC's implementation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, and it is one of the most important safeguards sought by parents and consumers.
Farther upstream, Chinese companies are starting to incorporate best practices in manufacturing. I have seen it firsthand. I have seen how strollers, toys, ATVs, and fireworks are made in China, and there are signs of progress.
My philosophy is to "take safety to the source." And that philosophy is driving CPSC's efforts to work with Chinese and other foreign manufacturers to adhere to U.S. standards and build safety into product design.
Back on the home front, unprecedented cooperation with U.S. Customs and Border Protection is leading to success at the ports. Noncompliant toys, teddy bears, hair dryers, Christmas lights, extension cords, jewelry, and fireworks are being caught by CBP inspectors and CPSC investigators.
What do all of these products have in common?
They never reached store shelves and never reached the hands of consumers.
By being proactive at the ports, CPSC and CBP staff have stopped 6.5 million units of about 1,700 different children's products in 2010 and 2011.
And more than 1 million unsafe products were stopped from reaching store shelves during the first half of fiscal year 2012.
I believe that our import surveillance program will continue to succeed because, for the first time, we have gained real-time access to import data from CBP. Data that allow us to identify and inspect products that present the greatest risk to the American consumer, while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade.
Although this only a limited scale pilot program, performing our own risk analysis on this data provides direction for CPSC and CBP resources, and prevents duplication of effort, while stopping products of greater concern.
Our work at the ports is a win for all of our stakeholders and another sign that the CPSC is willing and able to stand and protect.
Because of all of these accomplishments, I can say with confidence that the state of product safety is strong - and it is built to last.
CPSC is in a strong position, and I believe we are making a strong contribution to the state of product safety around the world.
We are using our strength, not for short-term gains, but to create a sustainable product safety system.
A system built to last; (short pause) a system founded upon compliance with the stringent safety and testing requirements established by the CPSIA.
A system that creates a regulatory approach that strives for injury prevention, rather than reaction.
A system for which future generations will thank us.
Because of our commitment at CPSC to consumer protection, I predict that this will be another successful year in product safety.
At CPSC, we are proud that this is a time when parents and grandparents can go shopping and know that many of the children's products they see in stores have been independently tested.
This is a time when consumers have unprecedented access to safety information at their fingertips.
This is a time when foreign manufacturers increasingly understand the requirements established in the United States, and they know that there are consequences if they do not follow our safety rules.
This is a time when the American consumer is being well represented by our government and they are being better protected by a global system of safety that is getting stronger.
Together, we are building a product safety system that is built to last - built to last so that future generations of children and other consumers have an even greater level of safety.
Now that I have shared with you what we are working on at CPSC, I hope that you will stay connected with us all year long.
If you visit our website at: CPSC.gov, you can sign up to receive free e-mail alerts about recalls.
If you use Twitter, please follow us @OnSafety and our small business ombudsman @CPSCSmallBiz.
We also have an OnSafety blog, a YouTube channel, Slideshare, and a recalls phone app.
Thank you for coming, and enjoy the presentations.