This month’s Recall Roundup starts with the wish that the coronavirus could be recalled. Perhaps the would-be CPSC commissioner who could deliver that recall would be unanimously approved.
On the topic of would-be commissioners, President Trump recently announced his intent to nominate Dr. Nancy Beck to be Chairman and Commissioner of the agency. Beck currently serves as the Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. She previously worked in various capacities at the EPA and Office of Management and Budget during the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations. Beck also worked as the Senior Director for Science Regulatory Policy at the American Chemistry Council, which is a chemical industry lobbyist group.
The CPSC currently consists of two Republican appointees and two Democratic appointees with one of the Democratic appointees—Robert Adler—serving as Acting Chairman. If confirmed by the US Senate, Beck would restore the Republican majority on the CPSC and take over the agency’s leadership reins as the permanent chairman. The path to confirmation, however, may be challenging. President Trump previously nominated Ann Marie Buerkle on three occasions to serve as the CPSC’s permanent chairman. The U.S. Senate failed to act on each nomination and Buerkle later left the CPSC to return to private practice. With an election year on the horizon and control of the agency at stake, Beck’s confirmation process is unlikely to be smooth or fast. For example, although the U.S. House of Representatives serves no formal role in the confirmation process, the Chairman of the House’s Energy and Commerce Committee—Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ)—has already issued a statement opposing the nomination. If confirmed, Beck would be the only scientist appointed to the CPSC as the current four commissioners are lawyers.
In products news, the CPSC continues to focus its regulatory efforts on hoverboards. Hoverboards have lingered in news headlines for over two years for causing fires. The CPSC recently warned consumers not to charge or use one manufacturer’s hoverboard because the product’s lithium ion batteries can overheat, posing a fire hazard. The CPSC asked the manufacturer to recall the hoverboard but the company refused to do so, precipitating the warning. The CPSC emphasized that hoverboards should be compliant with the UL2272 safety standard, which is an electrical system certification for personal mobility devices. The CPSC observed that the manufacturer’s hoverboard bears the UL2272 mark but it is no longer UL-listed and a sample tested showed that it does not conform to UL 2272.
Total Recalls: 19
Hazards: Injury (3); Fire/Burn/Shock (3); Violation of Federal Standard (3); Fall (2); Choke (2); Tip-Over (2); Laceration (1); Suffocation (1); Projective (1); Crash (1)