Morning Briefing with U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commissioner Ann Marie Buerkle

Ann Marie BuerkleJoin AmCham members and guests to learn about the latest developments at the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), programs to guarantee product safety for U.S. consumers.

When:Mon, May 12, 8:30am – 10:30am
Where:to be informed

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Event Background – Recent Developments in CPSC Activities

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) provided CPSC with significant new regulatory and enforcement tools as part of amending and enhancing several CPSC statutes, including the Consumer Product Safety Act. The CPSIA included provisions addressing, among other things, lead, phthalatestoy safetydurable infant or toddler productsthird-party testing and certification, tracking labels, imports, ATVs, civil and criminal penalties and, a publicly-searchable database of reports of harm. The CPSIA also repealed a challenging agency funding limitation and increased the number of authorized CPSC commissioners from three to five.

A recent development is the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) system for targeting certain high-risk cargo continued to net results in the last half of fiscal year 2013 leading to the identification of about 8.2 million units of consumer products that violated U.S. safety rules or that were found to be defective. For all of FY2013, more than 12.5 million units of violative imports were prevented from reaching the hands of consumers.

CPSC’s targeting system, known as the RAM (risk assessment methodology), was deployed as a pilot project in late 2011.  Currently, CPSC is proposing to expand the RAM program, so that the program can reach its full potential of actively preventing dangerous imports from entering the stream of commerce, while facilitating compliant trade.

The RAM allows CPSC investigators to analyze certain data provided by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) about shipments of consumer products arriving at U.S. ports of entry, and then make risk-based decisions about which shipments to inspect. The RAM also allows CPSC to recognize low-risk cargo and facilitate its movement through the ports.

Event schedule

08:30Registration and Refreshments
09:00Welcome and Introduction
Remarks by U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commissioner
.Ann Marie Buerkle
.Q&A, Discussion
10:00aEvent ends


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About the speaker

Ann Marie BuerkleHon. Ann Marie Buerkle is a Commissioner at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). She was appointed to the agency by President Barack Obama in May of 2013 and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in June 2013. The term expires in October 2018. 

Prior to joining the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Buerkle served the people of Upstate New York’s 25thCongressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. During her time in Congress, Buerkle served on the Oversight & Government Reform, Foreign Affairs, and Veterans’ Affairs Committees. She served as Chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health. While in Congress, Buerkle was also appointed by President Obama to serve as a United States Representative to the 66th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.


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About the U.S. Consumer Product Saftey Commission

About the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $ 800 billion annually. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children. The CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products – such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals – contributed significantly to the 30 percent decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

How diethylene glycol was discovered in toothpaste made in China Setting off a worldwide hunt for tainted toothpaste that turned out to be manufactured in China. Health alerts have now been issued in 34 countries, from Vietnam to Kenya, from Tonga in the Pacific to Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean. Canada found 24 contaminated brands and New Zealand found 16. Japan had 20 million tubes. Officials in the United States unwittingly gave the toothpaste to prisoners, the mentally disabled and troubled youths. Hospitals gave it to the sick, while high-end hotels gave it to the wealthy.

Mattel recalls toys made in China “This is a vendor plant with whom we’ve worked for 15 years; this isn’t somebody that just started making toys for us,” Robert Eckert, the chief executive of Mattel, said Wednesday. “They understand our regulations; they understand our program, and something went wrong. That hurts.”

U.S. Interagency Working Group on Import Safety to Hold Public Meeting Formed in response to the concerns about health and safety problems related to imports of pet food, tooth paste, and toys from China.

U.S. Import Safety Working Group Points to Technology and Manufacturing Quality The group’s strategic plan will include measures to improve safety by boosting manufacturing quality, using technology to inspect more goods at ports rather than in faraway labs and ensuring that exporting countries understand U.S. safety standards.

New Consumer Products Safety Legislation in the U.S. Exporting consumer products to the USA? The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) overses the safety of 15,000 consumer products, including toys. Learn about the new CPSC Reform Act, designed to rebuild and reinvigorate the agency after shortcomings were highlighted by recalls of many products made in China. The new legislation will empower the agency to better protect consumers and their families from unsafe products and meet the challenges of today’s economy. Key elements of the legislation emphasize resources, product testing, disclosure and accountability.

U.S. Senate strengthens Consumer Product Safety Agency Starting in March 2007, a string of recalls involving toothpaste, tires and pet food containing contaminated ingredients from China caused U.S. consumers to question product safety. Public confidence in federal oversight of imports sank further in June when toymaker RC2 recalled Thomas and Friends toys for having lead paint, a toxic substance that most people thought had been banished from toys in the 1970s. In September Mattel recalled more than 20 million products, including Barbie, Elmo and Dora toys, because they were coated in lead or contained small, dangerous magnets.