CPSIA Update: Erratabase

By November 30, 2010General

We’re still waiting to learn the witnesses for Thursday’s hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance Subcommittee, “Oversight of the Consumer Product Safety Commission: Product Safety in the Holiday Season.” A hearing limited to witnesses from officialdom would be a disappointment, oversight-lite.

We hope for probing questions about the CPSC’s approval last week of a fundamentally flawed product safety database. The Washington Times editorialized on the new federal regulation, “CPSC’s database of doom.” The editors write:

The Consumer Product Safety Commission finalized a new rule Nov. 24 that abandons both consumers and safety. Trial lawyers and unscrupulous business competitors, though, made out like bandits. American manufacturers and tradesmen are the ones left with empty pockets….[snip]

Trial lawyers pushing class-action suits could gin up hundreds of anonymous complaints, then point the jurors to those complaints at the “official” CPSC website as a way to feign the legitimacy of their theories that a product in question caused vast harm. “The agency does not appear to be concerned about fairness and does not care that unfounded complaints could damage the reputation of a company,” said Mrs. Nord. “The majority approach [on this and related rules] has imposed unnecessary costs on consumers, has limited their choices, has shut down businesses and has forced safe products off the market.”

Commissioner Nord correctly analyzes the troubling attitude of the majority commissioners, and The Washington Times makes a strong argument: The public is not served by a $29 million anonymous smear sheet.

Also, thanks, WT, for the mention of the NAM’s work on the issue.

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