Buckyball Recall Questions


The CPSC recently announced that the former retailers of Buckyballs, one of the brands of small, rare earth magnets sold as adult toys which are subject to both an administrative complaint and product ban now pending at the CPSC, have agreed to a voluntary recall.  There are a few questions this raises. First, what about the other brands of similar products that are subject to the same complaints and rulemaking?  The CPSC has taken action against Zen Magnets and Star Enterprises, which have s...
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Proposed Elimination of Duplicate Canadian Product Jurisdiction


For years, manufacturers and retailers of electrical products for sale in Canada have been forced to deal with two independent and duplicative government agencies regarding product safety and recalls – the Electrical Safety Authority of Ontario (“ESA”) and Health Canada. Since 1998, the ESA has exercised jurisdiction over electrical products sold in Ontario, including product certification as well as notices of dangerous products and recalls.  Given that Ontario has the largest populat...
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CPSC Administrative Complaint Pursues Corporate Officer


We have written in the past about the Consumer Product Safety Commission‘s (CPSC) administrative complaint seeking a recall of small rare earth magnets sold as adult toys.  Now, the CPSC has adopted a disturbing position.  In the Maxfield and Oberton Holdings, LLC proceeding (the entire docket is available here), the CPSC has requested permission from the administrative law judge to add the CEO of the company as a respondent in his individual capacity.  Under its theory, the CEO is personal...
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Health Canada Seeks Comments on Revised Guidance for Reporting Incidents under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act


In June, 2011, the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act began to require reports of incidents related to products.  Shortly before the requirement took effect, Health Canada published guidance interpreting the statutory provision, and companies have relied on the guidance in deciding what incidents needed to be reported to Health Canada. Health Canada is now seeking comments on proposed revisions to the guidance.  The proposed revisions change the existing guidance in a number of areas, althoug...
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Kolcraft Settlement Sends Confusing Message


On March 4, 2013, the CPSC published its settlement agreement with Kolcraft Enterprises, Inc., providing for a civil penalty of $400,000 for late reporting of incidents relating to a play yard which was recalled in 2009.  The settlement agreement is significant in that it includes requirements that, among other things, Kolcraft “implement and maintain a compliance program” that “ensures compliance with the safety statutes and regulations enforced by the CPSC”, ensures “prompt disclosu...
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Significant Changes Proposed in European Product Safety Rules


On February 13, the European Commission announced a proposed revamping of its product safety rules.  Although the draft proposals are expected to be adopted in 2014 and would not take effect until 2015, several elements of the new rules would require significant changes for manufacturers long before that date. For example, the new rules require that the “manufacturer” (which includes a distributor and an importer) prepare a detailed risk assessment of every product that it introduces to th...
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CPSC Chair Announces She Will Not Seek Re-Nomination


We were there when CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum announced last week at the International Consumer Product Safety and Health Organization...
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Voluntary Standards Compliance and Non-Compliance


As a general rule, it usually is preferable for products to comply with voluntary industry standards.  In many cases, consumers insist on products which bear a recognizable certification seal as a reliable indicator of good product quality and value. But is voluntary compliance with industry standards also helpful in dealing with the CPSC?  It often depends on whether the standard is a “safety standard” (i.e. one adopted with the intent to reduce or eliminate product hazards) or a “perf...
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CPSC Adopts New Press Release Format


As part of the redesign of http://www.cpsc.gov/, the CPSC has adopted a new look for the press releases and recall alerts housed on the web site.  The new format is designed to make it easier for consumers to locate recalls and comply with them.  While it may accomplish that goal, the format tends to bury the important information, like complete descriptions, model numbers and product dating information, deeper into the web page.  For example, the name of the product on the new format tends t...
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Bishop and Mullin Speaking at ICPHSO Conference


For those in the product safety area, there is one “must attend” conference – the annual meeting of the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization (“ICPHSO”).  This year‘s meeting will be from February 26 through March 1 in Arlington, Virginia.  This is the one meeting where you can rub shoulders with the regulators, private bar, company leaders, NGOs, academics, and test labs. The Product Safety Blog will be hard to miss.  Lee Bishop will be leading the first ...
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