The Commission has determined that hand-supported hair dryers that are not equipped with integral immersion protection are a substantial product hazard. A hand-supported hair dryer without this protection can be recalled. Integral immersion protection reduces the risk of electric shock if the hair dryer is immersed in, or otherwise contacts, water. This protection is provided in a block-shaped plug that incorporates a type of circuit interrupter.
What is a hand-supported hair dryer?
A hand-supported hair dryer is an electrical appliance, intended to be held with one hand during use, which creates a flow of air over or through a self-contained heating element for the purpose of drying hair.
What are the requirements of section 5 of UL 589 and section 6 of UL 1727?
In general, the relevant sections of the UL standards require that hand-supported hair dryers be equipped with integral immersion protection that reduces the risk of electric shock if the hair dryer is immersed in, or otherwise contacts, water. This protection is provided in a block-shaped plug that incorporates a type of circuit interrupter.
How can I obtain a copy of UL 589 and UL 1727?
To obtain copies of these UL standards, contact: UL, Inc., 333 Pfingsten Road, Northbrook, IL 60062; telephone: 888-853-3503; www.comm-2000.com.
Do hand-supported hair dryers have to be certified and tested?
No. A 15(j) rule is not a consumer product safety rule and does not create a consumer product safety standard. Thus, the rule does not trigger any testing or certification requirements under section 14(a) of the CPSA.
What is the legal background for creating a list of "substantial product hazards?"
Section 15(j) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) (pdf) gives the Commission the authority to specify, by rule, for a consumer product or class of consumer products, characteristics whose presence or absence the Commission considers a "substantial product hazard" under 15(a)(2) of the CPSA. This type of rule is referred to here as a "15(j) rule."
While a 15(j) rule does not establish a consumer product safety standard, placing a consumer product on this substantial product hazard list has certain consequences. A product that is, or has, a substantial product hazard is subject to the reporting requirements of section 15(b) of the CPSA. 15 U.S.C. 2064(b). A manufacturer who fails to report a substantial product hazard to the Commission is subject to civil penalties under section 20 of the CPSA and possibly is subject to criminal penalties under section 21 of the CPSA. 15 U.S.C. 2069, 2070. A product that is, or contains, a substantial product hazard, is subject to corrective action under section 15(c) and (d) of the CPSA. 15 U.S.C. 2064(c), (d). Thus, the Commission can order the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of the product to offer to repair or replace the product, or to refund the purchase price to the consumer. Finally, a product that is offered for import into the United States, and is, or contains, a substantial product hazard, must be refused admission into the United States under section 17(a) of the CPSA. 15 U.S.C. 2066(a).
How were hand-supported hair dryers deemed to be a "substantial product hazard?"
The Commission issued a 15(j) rule with regard to hand-supported hair dryers. See 16 CFR § 1120.3. The rule places on the substantial product hazard list, found at 16 CFR Part 1120, "Hand-supported hair dryers that do not provide integral immersion protection in compliance with the requirements of section 5 of Underwriters Laboratories' (UL) Standard for Safety for Household Electric Personal Grooming Appliances, UL 859, 10th Edition, approved August 30, 2002, and revised through June 3, 2010, or section 6 of UL's Standard for Safety for Commercial Electric Personal Grooming Appliances, UL 1727, 4th Edition, approved March 25, 1999, and revised through June 25, 2010." 16 CFR § 1120.3(b)(1).
Where can I find additional information?
For more information on the requirements for hand-supported hair dryers, contact the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:
- Office of Compliance (for specific enforcement inquires): e-mail: email@example.com; telephone: (301) 504-7520.
- Small Business Ombudsman (for general assistance understanding and complying with CPSC regulations): e-mail: Please use our Contact Form, which is the best way to get a fast response; telephone: (888) 531-9070.