CPSC has faced criticism for mishandling recalls, current head Buerkle to step down in October


Washington (June 20, 2019) – In advance of the Senate Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection oversight hearing on the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) are writing to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting an investigation of CPSC’s enforcement and settlement actions.


The CPSC is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with consumer products. The Commission has jurisdiction over countless consumer products, covering nearly everything for sale in a store or online. Multiple press reports over the last several months have raised concerns about the Republican-led CPSC’s willingness to fulfill its mission of protecting consumers by executing enforcement action against manufacturers of hazardous products.


“We assume that the hundreds of products we interact with every day are safe, but this assumption relies on a strong and proactive CPSC,” write Senators Markey and Blumenthal in their letter to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro. “We are concerned about CPSC’s increased deference to industry, which has resulted in fewer recalls and more settlements that favor industry interests over consumer safety.”


A copy of the letter can be found HERE


Senators Markey and Blumenthal asked GAO to evaluate CPSC’s decision-making related to enforcement, its process of monitoring industry compliance with any enforcement actions, and whether these processes are effective in protecting consumers from hazardous products. 


In April 2019, Senators Markey and Blumenthal questioned CPSC’s Acting Chair and Commissioner Ann Marie Buerkle, who recently announced her departure from the commission at the end of her term later this year, for alleged improper coordination with the industries that CPSC regulates.