U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the ranking member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today asked the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for documents related to their work on BOB jogging strollers.
Last week, the Washington Post reported that Acting Chairman Buerkle may be using her position to restrict Commission staff and her fellow Commissioners from doing their jobs to protect the public from dangerous products.
“As Acting Chairman of the CPSC, you have a responsibility to allow Commission staff and your fellow Commissioners perform the work required by the Commission’s statutory mandate to protect consumers from unreasonable risk of injury or death from the thousands of consumer products the CPSC regulates,” Ranking Member Cantwell wrote.
Acting Chairman Buerkle has until April 22nd to produce documents related to this case, and will run afoul of U.S.S. 2055(a)(7) if she fails to comply with the Ranking Member’s request.
The full text of Ranking Member Cantwell’s letter is below:
April 8, 2019
Dear Acting Chairman Buerkle:
I write to express my concern over a report in the Washington Post last week indicating that you are using your position as Acting Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to restrict Commission staff and fellow Commissioners from investigating and taking action against consumer products that may present a substantial risk of serious injury or death to consumers.
The Washington Post article notes that Commission staff had been following reports of injuries from BOB jogging strollers for almost a year and had concluded that a defect with the stroller’s front wheel could cause “potentially life-threatening injuries” if the wheel detached. However, rather than initiate efforts for a recall, the article notes that you refused staff requests to force Britax Child Safety, maker of the BOB jogging stroller, to negotiate a corrective action.
This follows on the heels of other reports, in FairWarning.org and other outlets, that you personally worked to derail efforts to promulgate a mandatory safety standard for portable generators to prevent deaths and injuries from carbon monoxide poisoning. In fact, the FairWarning.org article indicates that you actively worked with industry to even squash a request from your fellow Commissioners asking retailers to voluntarily stock portable generators with additional safety measures.
This is unacceptable. As Acting Chairman of the CPSC, you have a responsibility to allow Commission staff and your fellow Commissioners to perform the work required by the Commission’s statutory mandate to protect consumers from unreasonable risk of injury or death from the thousands of consumer products the CPSC regulates.
In order to more fully understand the current regulatory environment at the Commission, I hereby request, as Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 2055(a)(7), copies of the following documents:
1. Copies of the weekly written Office of Compliance status reports (including any associated documents or presentations) from February 9, 2017, to the present.
2. A list of all incident reports received by the Commission (including, but not limited to, Section 15 reports and consumer provided incident reports) associated with the BOB jogging stroller manufactured or distributed by Britax Child Safety.
3. Copies of all in-depth investigation (IDI) reports (including all associated attachments or documents) completed by Commission staff associated with the BOB jogging stroller manufactured or distributed by Britax Child Safety.
4. Copies of any presentations by Commission staff (including PowerPoint presentations), including copies of notes or meeting logs, to you, the Office of the Chairman, or any other Commissioners offices, concerning the investigation of products manufactured or distributed by Britax Child Safety, including, but not limited to, the BOB jogging stroller.
5. Copies of all correspondence, including e-mails, phone logs, and meeting logs, of any communications between employees of Britax Child Safety and you, the Office of the Chairman, or Commission staff from February 9, 2017, to the present.
6. Copies of any proposed Corrective Actions Plans or other voluntary recall efforts negotiated by Commission staff concerning products made by Britax Child Safety from February 9, 2017, to the present.
7. Copies of any proposed civil penalty actions against Britax Child Safety from February 9, 2017, to the present.
8. A list of all instances, including any associated documents, where you directed Commission staff to cease work on, delay, or otherwise impede or limit resources for an investigation of a potentially defective consumer product identified by the Commission’s Office or Compliance, a Section 15 report, a consumer defect report (provided by any reporting method, including SaferProducts.gov), or any other reporting mechanism.
Please provide the requested documents as soon as possible, and in no event later than April 22, 2019. Thank you in advance for your assistance with this request.