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Consumer Product Safety:
The CPSC
This is part of the law establishing and empowering the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and is the product of numerous revisions from 1972 through 2008. The text shown here is as codified in Chapter 47 of Title 15 of the U.S. Code.

 

 

 

Other provisions in the law that are included on CENTRAL cover these topics:

Note that many other provisions of the chapter that are less directly related to issues of trade compliance are not included here. These include inter alia provisions on CPSC procedures, its powers, and other matters.

 

See also related provisions of law concerning trade in hazardous products and products containing lead.

 

See also the CENTRAL guide to Security, Sanctions, and Compliance.

 

 

 

 


§2053. Consumer Product Safety Commission

(a) Establishment; Chairman

An independent regulatory commission is hereby established, to be known as the Consumer Product Safety Commission, consisting of five Commissioners who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. In making such appointments, the President shall consider individuals who, by reason of their background and expertise in areas related to consumer products and protection of the public from risks to safety, are qualified to serve as members of the Commission. The Chairman shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, from among the members of the Commission. An individual may be appointed as a member of the Commission and as Chairman at the same time. Any member of the Commission may be removed by the President for neglect of duty or malfeasance in office but for no other cause.

(b) Term; vacancies

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), (A) the Commissioners first appointed under this section shall be appointed for terms ending three, four, five, six, and seven years, respectively, after October 27, 1972, the term of each to be designated by the President at the time of nomination; and (B) each of their successors shall be appointed for a term of seven years from the date of the expiration of the term for which his predecessor was appointed.

(2) Any Commissioner appointed to fill a vacancy occurring prior to the expiration of the term for which his predecessor was appointed shall be appointed only for the remainder of such term. A Commissioner may continue to serve after the expiration of this term until his successor has taken office, except that he may not so continue to serve more than one year after the date on which his term would otherwise expire under this subsection.

(c) Restrictions on Commissioner's outside activities

Not more than three of the Commissioners shall be affiliated with the same political party. No individual (1) in the employ of, or holding any official relation to, any person engaged in selling or manufacturing consumer products, or (2) owning stock or bonds of substantial value in a person so engaged, or (3) who is in any other manner pecuniarily interested in such a person, or in a substantial supplier of such a person, shall hold the office of Commissioner. A Commissioner may not engage in any other business, vocation, or employment.

(d) Quorum; seal; Vice Chairman

No vacancy in the Commission shall impair the right of the remaining Commissioners to exercise all the powers of the Commission, but three members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, except that if there are only three members serving on the Commission because of vacancies in the Commission, two members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, and if there are only two members serving on the Commission because of vacancies in the Commission, two members shall constitute a quorum for the six month period beginning on the date of the vacancy which caused the number of Commission members to decline to two. The Commission shall have an official seal of which judicial notice shall be taken. The Commission shall annually elect a Vice Chairman to act in the absence or disability of the Chairman or in case of a vacancy in the office of the Chairman.

(e) Offices

The Commission shall maintain a principal office and such field offices as it deems necessary and may meet and exercise any of its powers at any other place.

(f) Functions of Chairman; request for appropriations

(1) The Chairman of the Commission shall be the principal executive officer of the Commission, and he shall exercise all of the executive and administrative functions of the Commission, including functions of the Commission with respect to (A) the appointment and supervision of personnel employed under the Commission (other than personnel employed regularly and full time in the immediate offices of commissioners other than the Chairman), (B) the distribution of business among personnel appointed and supervised by the Chairman and among administrative units of the Commission, and (C) the use and expenditure of funds.

(2) In carrying out any of his functions under the provisions of this subsection the Chairman shall be governed by general policies of the Commission and by such regulatory decisions, findings, and determinations as the Commission may by law be authorized to make.

(3) Requests or estimates for regular, supplemental, or deficiency appropriations on behalf of the Commission may not be submitted by the Chairman without the prior approval of the Commission.

(g) Executive Director; officers and employees

(1)(A) The Chairman, subject to the approval of the Commission, shall appoint as officers of the Commission an Executive Director, a General Counsel, an Associate Executive Director for Engineering Sciences, an Associate Executive Director for Epidemiology, an Associate Executive Director for Compliance and Administrative Litigation, an Associate Executive Director for Health Sciences, an Associate Executive Director for Economic Analysis, an Associate Executive Director for Administration, an Associate Executive Director for Field Operations, a Director for Office of Program, Management, and Budget, and a Director for Office of Information and Public Affairs. Any other individual appointed to a position designated as an Associate Executive Director shall be appointed by the Chairman, subject to the approval of the Commission. The Chairman may only appoint an attorney to the position of Associate Executive Director of Compliance and Administrative Litigation except the position of acting Associate Executive Director of Compliance and Administrative Litigation.

(B)(i) No individual may be appointed to such a position on an acting basis for a period longer than 90 days unless such appointment is approved by the Commission.

(ii) The Chairman, with the approval of the Commission, may remove any individual serving in a position appointed under subparagraph (A).

(C) Subparagraph (A) shall not be construed to prohibit appropriate reorganizations or changes in classification.

(2) The Chairman, subject to subsection (f)(2) of this section, may employ such other officers and employees (including attorneys) as are necessary in the execution of the Commission's functions.

(3) In addition to the number of positions authorized by section 5108(a) of title 5, the Chairman, subject to the approval of the Commission, and subject to the standards and procedures prescribed by chapter 51 of title 5, may place a total of twelve positions in grades GS–16, GS–17, and GS–18.

(4) The appointment of any officer (other than a Commissioner) or employee of the Commission shall not be subject, directly or indirectly, to review or approval by any officer or entity within the Executive Office of the President.

(h) Omitted

(i) Civil action against United States

Subsections (a) and (h) of section 2680 of title 28 do not prohibit the bringing of a civil action on a claim against the United States which—

(1) is based upon—

(A) misrepresentation or deceit on the part of the Commission or any employee thereof, or

(B) any exercise or performance, or failure to exercise or perform, a discretionary function on the part of the Commission or any employee thereof, which exercise, performance, or failure was grossly negligent; and

(2) is not made with respect to any agency action (as defined in section 551(13) of title 5).

In the case of a civil action on a claim based upon the exercise or performance of, or failure to exercise or perform, a discretionary function, no judgment may be entered against the United States unless the court in which such action was brought determines (based upon consideration of all the relevant circumstances, including the statutory responsibility of the Commission and the public interest in encouraging rather than inhibiting the exercise of discretion) that such exercise, performance, or failure to exercise or perform was unreasonable.

(j) Agenda and priorities; establishment and comments

At least 30 days before the beginning of each fiscal year, the Commission shall establish an agenda for Commission action under the Acts under its jurisdiction and, to the extent feasible, shall establish priorities for such actions. Before establishing such agenda and priorities, the Commission shall conduct a public hearing on the agenda and priorities and shall provide reasonable opportunity for the submission of comments.

§2053a. Employee training exchanges

(a) In general

The Commission may—

(1) retain or employ officers or employees of foreign government agencies on a temporary basis pursuant to section 2053 of this title or section 3101 or 3109 of title 5; and

(2) detail officers or employees of the Commission to work on a temporary basis for appropriate foreign government agencies for the purpose of providing or receiving training.

(b) Reciprocity and reimbursement

The Commission may execute the authority contained in subsection (a) with or without reimbursement in money or in kind, and with or without reciprocal arrangements by or on behalf of the foreign government agency involved. Any amounts received as reimbursement for expenses incurred by the Commission under this section shall be credited to the appropriations account from which such expenses were paid.

(c) Standards of conduct

An individual retained or employed under subsection (a)(1) shall be considered to be a Federal employee while so retained or employed, only for purposes of—

(1) injury compensation as provided in chapter 81 of title 5 and tort claims liability under chapter 171 of title 28;

(2) the Ethics in Government Act (5 U.S.C. App.) and the provisions of chapter 11 of title 18; and

(3) any other statute or regulation governing the conduct of Federal employees.

§2054. Product safety information and research

(a) Injury Information Clearinghouse; duties

The Commission shall—

(1) maintain an Injury Information Clearinghouse to collect, investigate, analyze, and disseminate injury data, and information, relating to the causes and prevention of death, injury, and illness associated with consumer products;

(2) conduct such continuing studies and investigations of deaths, injuries, diseases, other health impairments, and economic losses resulting from accidents involving consumer products as it deems necessary;

(3) following publication of a notice of proposed rulemaking for a product safety rule under any rulemaking authority administered by the Commission, assist public and private organizations or groups of manufacturers, administratively and technically, in the development of safety standards addressing the risk of injury identified in such notice; and

(4) to the extent practicable and appropriate (taking into account the resources and priorities of the Commission), assist public and private organizations or groups of manufacturers, administratively and technically, in the development of product safety standards and test methods.

(b) Research, investigation and testing of consumer products

The Commission may—

(1) conduct research, studies, and investigations on the safety of consumer products and on improving the safety of such products;

(2) test consumer products and develop product safety test methods and testing devices; and

(3) offer training in product safety investigation and test methods.

(c) Grants and contracts for conduct of functions

In carrying out its functions under this section, the Commission may make grants or enter into contracts for the conduct of such functions with any person (including a governmental entity).

(d) Availability to public of information

Whenever the Federal contribution for any information, research, or development activity authorized by this chapter is more than minimal, the Commission shall include in any contract, grant, or other arrangement for such activity, provisions effective to insure that the rights to all information, uses, processes, patents, and other developments resulting from that activity will be made available to the public without charge on a nonexclusive basis. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to deprive any person of any right which he may have had, prior to entering into any arrangement referred to in this subsection, to any patent, patent application, or invention.

§2055. Public disclosure of information

(a) Disclosure requirements for manufacturers or private labelers; procedures applicable

(1) Nothing contained in this Act shall be construed to require the release of any information described by subsection (b) of section 552 of title 5 or which is otherwise protected by law from disclosure to the public.

(2) All information reported to or otherwise obtained by the Commission or its representative under this Act which information contains or relates to a trade secret or other matter referred to in section 1905 of title 18 or subject to section 552(b)(4) of title 5 shall be considered confidential and shall not be disclosed.

(3) The Commission shall, prior to the disclosure of any information which will permit the public to ascertain readily the identity of a manufacturer or private labeler of a consumer product, offer such manufacturer or private labeler an opportunity to mark such information as confidential and therefore barred from disclosure under paragraph (2). A manufacturer or private labeler shall submit any such mark within 15 calendar days after the date on which it receives the Commission's offer.

(4) All information that a manufacturer or private labeler has marked to be confidential and barred from disclosure under paragraph (2), either at the time of submission or pursuant to paragraph (3), shall not be disclosed, except in accordance with the procedures established in paragraphs (5) and (6).

(5) If the Commission determines that a document marked as confidential by a manufacturer or private labeler to be barred from disclosure under paragraph (2) may be disclosed because it is not confidential information as provided in paragraph (2), the Commission shall notify such person in writing that the Commission intends to disclose such document at a date not less than 10 days after the date of receipt of notification.

(6) Any person receiving such notification may, if he believes such disclosure is barred by paragraph (2), before the date set for release of the document, bring an action in the district court of the United States in the district in which the complainant resides, or has his principal place or business, or in which the documents are located, or in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to restrain disclosure of the document. Any person receiving such notification may file with the appropriate district court or court of appeals of the United States, as appropriate, an application for a stay of disclosure. The documents shall not be disclosed until the court has ruled on the application for a stay.

(7) Nothing in this Act shall authorize the withholding of information by the Commission or any officer or employee under its control from the duly authorized committees or subcommittees of the Congress, and the provisions of paragraphs (2) through (6) shall not apply to such disclosures, except that the Commission shall immediately notify the manufacturer or private labeler of any such request for information designated as confidential by the manufacturer or private labeler.

(8) The provisions of paragraphs (2) through (6) shall not prohibit the disclosure of information to other officers, employees, or representatives of the Commission (including contractors) concerned with carrying out this Act or when relevant in any administrative proceeding under this Act or in judicial proceedings to which the Commission is a party. Any disclosure of relevant information—

(A) in Commission administrative proceedings or in judicial proceedings to which the Commission is a party, or

(B) to representatives of the Commission (including contractors),

shall be governed by the rules of the Commission (including in camera review rules for confidential material) for such proceedings or for disclosures to such representatives or by court rules or orders, except that the rules of the Commission shall not be amended in a manner inconsistent with the purposes of this section.

(b) Additional disclosure requirements for manufacturers or private labelers; procedures applicable

(1) Except as provided by paragraph (4) of this subsection, not less than 15 days prior to its public disclosure of any information obtained under this Act, or to be disclosed to the public in connection therewith (unless the Commission publishes a finding that the public health and safety requires a lesser period of notice), the Commission shall, to the extent practicable, notify and provide a summary of the information to, each manufacturer or private labeler of any consumer product to which such information pertains, if the manner in which such consumer product is to be designated or described in such information will permit the public to ascertain readily the identity of such manufacturer or private labeler, and shall provide such manufacturer or private labeler with a reasonable opportunity to submit comments to the Commission in regard to such information. The Commission shall take reasonable steps to assure, prior to its public disclosure thereof, that information from which the identity of such manufacturer or private labeler may be readily ascertained is accurate, and that such disclosure is fair in the circumstances and reasonably related to effectuating the purposes of this Act. In disclosing any information under this subsection, the Commission may, and upon the request of the manufacturer or private labeler shall, include with the disclosure any comments or other information or a summary thereof submitted by such manufacturer or private labeler to the extent permitted by and subject to the requirements of this section.

(2) If the Commission determines that a document claimed to be inaccurate by a manufacturer or private labeler under paragraph (1) should be disclosed because the Commission believes it has complied with paragraph (1), the Commission shall notify the manufacturer or private labeler that the Commission intends to disclose such document at a date not less than 5 days after the date of the receipt of notification. The Commission may provide a lesser period of notice of intent to disclose if the Commission publishes a finding that the public health and safety requires a lesser period of notice.

(3)(A) Prior to the date set for release of the document, the manufacturer or private labeler receiving the notice described in paragraph (2) may bring an action in the district court of the United States in the district in which the complainant resides, or has his principal place of business, or in which the documents are located or in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to enjoin disclosure of the document. The district court may enjoin such disclosure if the Commission has failed to take the reasonable steps prescribed in paragraph (1).

(B) If the Commission determines that the public health and safety requires expedited consideration of an action brought under subparagraph (A), the Commission may file a request with the District Court for such expedited consideration. If the Commission files such a request, the District Court shall—

(i) assign the matter for hearing at the earliest possible date;

(ii) give precedence to the matter, to the greatest extent practicable, over all other matters pending on the docket of the court at the time;

(iii) expedite consideration of the matter to the greatest extent practicable; and

(iv) grant or deny the requested injunction within 30 days after the date on which the Commission's request was filed with the court.

(4) Paragraphs (1) through (3) of this subsection shall not apply to the public disclosure of (A) information about any consumer product with respect to which product the Commission has filed an action under section 2061 of this title (relating to imminently hazardous products), or which the Commission has reasonable cause to believe is in violation of any consumer product safety rule or provision of this Act or similar rule or provision of any other Act enforced by the Commission; or (B) information in the course of or concerning a rulemaking proceeding (which shall commence upon the publication of an advance notice of proposed rulemaking or a notice of proposed rulemaking), an adjudicatory proceeding (which shall commence upon the issuance of a complaint) or other administrative or judicial proceeding under this Act.

(5) In addition to the requirements of paragraph (1), the Commission shall not disclose to the public information submitted pursuant to section 2064(b) of this title respecting a consumer product unless—

(A) the Commission has issued a complaint under section 2064(c) or (d) of this title alleging that such product presents a substantial product hazard;

(B) in lieu of proceeding against such product under section 2064(c) or (d) of this title, the Commission has accepted in writing a remedial settlement agreement dealing with such product;

(C) the person who submitted the information under section 2064(b) of this title agrees to its public disclosure; or

(D) the Commission publishes a finding that the public health and safety requires public disclosure with a lesser period of notice than is required under paragraph (1).

The provisions of this paragraph shall not apply to the public disclosure of information with respect to a consumer product which is the subject of an action brought under section 2061 of this title, or which the Commission has reasonable cause to believe is in violation of any consumer product safety rule or provision under this Act or similar rule or provision of any other Act enforced by the Commission, or information in the course of or concerning a judicial proceeding.

(6) Where the Commission initiates the public disclosure of information that reflects on the safety of a consumer product or class of consumer products, whether or not such information would enable the public to ascertain readily the identity of a manufacturer or private labeler, the Commission shall establish procedures designed to ensure that such information is accurate and not misleading.

(7) If the Commission finds that, in the administration of this Act, it has made public disclosure of inaccurate or misleading information which reflects adversely upon the safety of any consumer product or class of consumer products, or the practices of any manufacturer, private labeler, distributor, or retailer of consumer products, it shall, in a manner equivalent to that in which such disclosure was made, take reasonable steps to publish a retraction of such inaccurate or misleading information.

(8) If, after the commencement of a rulemaking or the initiation of an adjudicatory proceeding, the Commission decides to terminate the proceeding before taking final action, the Commission shall, in a manner equivalent to that in which such commencement or initiation was publicized, take reasonable steps to make known the decision to terminate.

(c) Communications with manufacturers

The Commission shall communicate to each manufacturer of a consumer product, insofar as may be practicable, information as to any significant risk of injury associated with such product.

(d) “Act” defined; coverage

(1) For purposes of this section, the term “Act” means the Consumer Product Safety Act [15 U.S.C. 2051 et seq.], the Flammable Fabrics Act [15 U.S.C. 1191 et seq.], the Poison Prevention Packaging Act [15 U.S.C. 1471 et seq.], and the Federal Hazardous Substances Act [15 U.S.C. 1261 et seq.].

(2) The provisions of this section shall apply whenever information is to be disclosed by the Commission, any member of the Commission, or any employee, agent, or representative of the Commission in an official capacity.

(e) Disclosure of information regarding civil actions involving consumer product alleged to have caused death or injury

(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 552 of title 5, subsection (a)(7) of this section, or of any other law, except as provided in paragraphs (2), (3), and (4), no member of the Commission, no officer or employee of the Commission, and no officer or employee of the Department of Justice may—

(A) publicly disclose information furnished under subsection (c)(1) or (c)(2)(A) of section 2084 of this title;

(B) use such information for any purpose other than to carry out the Commission's responsibilities; or

(C) permit anyone (other than the members, officers, and employees of the Commission or officers or employees of the Department of Justice who require such information for an action filed on behalf of the Commission) to examine such information.

(2) Any report furnished under subsection (c)(1) or (c)(2)(A) of section 2084 of this title shall be immune from legal process and shall not be subject to subpoena or other discovery in any civil action in a State or Federal court or in any administrative proceeding, except in an action against such manufacturer under section 2069, 2070, or 2071 of this title for failure to furnish information required by section 2084 of this title.

(3) The Commission may, upon written request, furnish to any manufacturer or to the authorized agent of such manufacturer authenticated copies of reports furnished by or on behalf of such manufacturer in accordance with section 2084 of this title, upon payment of the actual or estimated cost of searching the records and furnishing such copies.

(4) Upon written request of the Chairman or Ranking Minority Member of either of the appropriate Congressional committees or any subcommittee thereof, the Commission shall provide to the Chairman or Ranking Minority Member any information furnished to the Commission under section 2084 of this title for purposes that are related to the jurisdiction of such committee or subcommittee.

(5) Any officer or employee of the Commission or other officer or employee of the Federal Government who receives information provided under section 2084 of this title, who willfully violates the requirements of this subsection shall be subject to dismissal or other appropriate disciplinary action consistent with procedures and requirements established by the Office of Personnel Management.