Although the CPSC is an independent agency, these principles are being adopted in the spirit of 2009 presidential memorandum on scientific integrity, which calls for “ensuring the highest level of integrity in all aspects of the executive branch’s involvement with scientific and technological processes.” and the“Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, Subject: Scientific Integrity,” from John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, December 17, 2010.
Scientific and technical work constitute the foundation upon which staff of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC, Commission) executes the agency’s mission to protect the public against unreasonable risks of injury associated with the use of consumer products. CPSC aims to conduct this work with an integrity that is beyond reproach because policy makers rely upon this work to make important decisions and because the public places its trust in the work of the Commission.
Within the CPSC, the activities of the Hazard Identification and Analysis (HIA) and Hazard Assessment and Reduction (HAR) programs consist primarily of scientific and technical work that involves: (1) the collection and analysis of consumer product-related injury and fatality data to identify hazards and hazard patterns; (2) scientific and technical research for use in developing mandatory safety standards and in preparing proposals to submit to standards development organizations (SDOs); (3) evaluations of petitions and other requests from the public; (4) identification of emerging product hazards; and (5) technical evaluations of products to support compliance and enforcement activities.
It is imperative that CPSC management and employees recognize and embrace principles of scientific integrity so that the scientific and technical work of the agency embodies the highest standards of quality and integrity, as recognized by the scientific and technical communities. This document represents a general policy of the Commission and outlines the principles that the Commission believes are essential to supporting the quality and integrity of the scientific and technical work conducted by CPSC staff.
II. Principles to Support Scientific Quality and Integrity
The following principles are intended to serve as a structure to support the quality and integrity of CPSC staff’s scientific and technical work:
- Open communication among scientists and technical staff within and outside the Commission is encouraged.
- Professional growth and development of CPSC’s scientific and technical staff are supported.
- The credibility of staff’s scientific and technical work is encouraged, supported, and recognized.
- Accountability and transparency are expected and supported in communicating to the public the results of scientific and technical work.
- Scientific and technical staff are expected to adhere to a professional code of ethics.
- Protections exist and are expected to be followed to shield staff from undue influence or suppression.
The principles set forth above are intended to: (1) support the quality and scientific integrity of the scientific and technical work of CPSC staff; (2) provide policymakers with data-driven and evidence-based findings and recommendations for consideration in decision making; and (3) maintain the public’s trust in the credibility of the scientific and technical work of the CPSC. The Commission adopts these principles, believing that their implementation and practice uphold and strengthen the quality and integrity of CPSC staff’s scientific and technical work.