Buried in an otherwise bureaucratic meeting this week about the Consumer Products Safety Commission’s operating plan and priorities, the CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye dropped a bombshell for the furniture industry. In a conversation about the effectiveness of CPSC’s #AnchorIt campaign, Kaye said, “We obviously can’t discuss, publicly, compliance actions [on furniture tipover standards], but we can point to the fact that we have already taken two compliance actions so far this calendar year on this hazard. And we may not be done. It’s fair to say, we may not be done.”
The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has finalized the Maximum Allowable Dose Level for BPA of 3 micrograms per day from dermal exposure from solid materials.
If your business employs nine or fewer employees, it is exempt from Prop 65's warning requirements, but if you sell to larger, non-exempt retailers, you will be expected to comply and/or indemnify your retailers. Paying attention to Prop 65 is a necessity for anyone selling goods to California.
The remarkable, record-setting civil penalty of $15.45 million announced on Friday, March 24, 2016 by U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Chairman Elliot Kaye should grab your attention. It was clearly designed to.
Chairman Kaye, in a widely covered recent speech, made no apologies about his clear intention to find a suitable case to seek an “eight digit” penalty, something never before seen at the CPSC. Certainly his remarks, made within a month of last week’s announcement, foreshadowed last week’s civil penalty against Gree Electric Appliances Sales Co. Ltd.. 
A Trophy Civil Penalty
In setting out his vision so clearly, Chairman Kaye made explicit what was already widely assumed to be the implicit goal of the agency’s leadership since the enactment of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). After his speech, many industry executives were frustrated that the Chairman seemed more intent on finding a trophy civil penalty than in making sure that civil penalties were commensurate with the facts of each case. Chairman Kaye, in these and other remarks, seemed intent to make an example out of a suitable corporate candidate where he and his team believed that a firm was profiting from unsafe practices and viewed civil penalties as “just another cost of doing business”. Last week, the Commission seems to have found its mark.
Chairman Kaye and most of the Commission clearly view this accomplishment as justice. And, indeed, the facts of the case, to the extent they are known, do not seem to cry out for sympathy for the Gree corporate entities.
Nevertheless, all stakeholders would be wise to pause for what is unmistakably a watershed moment: the moment that the CPSC ceased to be a relatively, quiet backwater agency and became an aggressive enforcement body deserving of respect or, at a minimum, fear.
1. Don’t lie to the government. How many times do we have to say this? There is literally nothing that antagonizes a government official so much as being lied to. Lying to the
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We've annotated our tweetstorm of the engaging, public debate on CPSC Commission actions at the Interantional Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization Conference (#ICPSHO16) with Commissioners Buerkle and Robinson (seen here, respectively, on either side of Chairman Kaye). (h/t @USCPSC @RobinsonCPSC @ElliotKayeCPSC @NealCohenLaw)
Click below for our piece, including all the tweets, explainers, and our commentary.
CPSC Commissioner Debate: Recalls, Civil Penalties and "Bad Guys"
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