Yesterday, the Senate Commerce Committee held a confirmation hearing for Dr. Nancy Beck, who was nominated to be a commissioner and chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Perhaps unsurprisingly, Dr. Beck faced significant skepticism from Democratic members of the committee. However, she also had a tense exchange with Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R, W. Va.) regarding Dr. Beck’s prior work with the Environmental Protection Agency and the White House.
Continue Reading CPSC Chair Nominee Facing Bipartisan Opposition

Much like the rest of the world, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and its constituents and stakeholders are trying to determine how to operate amid the historic disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some CPSC functions – particularly staff-driven operations like recalls – are functioning reasonably well even with a dispersed, telecommuting workforce. But other matters – especially the policy questions that commissioners must answer – present a greater challenge. Nonetheless, the agency is finding ways for its four commissioners to fulfill their responsibilities despite the hurdles.
Continue Reading Despite COVID, CPSC Policy Discussions Forging Ahead – Sort Of

With the clean beauty movement on the rise, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has started to pay closer attention to how companies label and market personal care products. Although the FTC does not have its own definition of the term “organic,” it can bring enforcement actions based on allegedly false or deceptive advertisement of products labelled as “organic” under standards promulgated by other agencies.
Continue Reading Not So Organic: The FTC Takes Action Against Personal Care Products

With the disruptions wrought by COVID-19, companies are working hard just to keep pace with daily activities. But, as we wrote previously, companies still must meet their regulatory obligations – including obligations to report potential product hazards to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). That may require additional effort in the current environment.

Continue Reading COVID-19 or Not, CPSC Keeps Chugging Along

With consumers attempting to navigate quarantine and “shelter-in-place” orders, businesses that sell basic necessities are facing overwhelming demand.

This new level of demand is placing stress on both businesses that sell basic necessities and their employees. Many businesses are experiencing increased overall customer service inquiries, call volume, and website orders. They are needing to meet increased consumer demand while making unprecedented provisions for their own employees’ health and well-being (which we have written about here and here).


Continue Reading Five Effective Ways Companies Can Communicate with Customers During COVID-19

Current thinking from public health experts is that COVID-19 will affect the American economy for several months. But during this period businesses still have responsibilities to their brands and obligations under law. And unlike during last year’s government shutdown, the pandemic has forced government agencies like the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to operate differently, but it hasn’t closed its doors. For that reason, businesses will still have legal obligations and face the possibility of CPSC enforcement efforts.

Here are three steps companies can take to protect their brands and reduce the risk of CPSC enforcement.
Continue Reading COVID-19: Three Steps Companies Can Take to Reduce Risk of Regulatory Side Effects

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound derived from the hemp plant, a member of the cannabis family. Because CBD is also found in the marijuana plant (a cousin of hemp), its use fell into a legal gray area until recently.

In December 2018, however, Congress passed the Farm Bill and legalized hemp and hemp-derived products. CBD products since have skyrocketed in popularity, with analysts projecting that CBD will grow to a $16 billion industry in five years. CBD product manufacturers and retailers across America are working to meet the high demand for their goods.
Continue Reading CBD Manufacturers and Retailers Face Action from the FDA and Consumer Litigants

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) will hold its annual public hearing on the agency’s agenda and priorities (Priorities Hearing) on April 15 in Bethesda, Md. At a minimum, CPSC-regulated companies – particularly those who make or sell products that have been politically sensitive recently – should watch the hearing to get a sense of both the public pressures the agency may be facing and how the CPSC (especially the four sitting commissioners) feel about the issues of the day. Companies may also want to consider participating, either in person or in writing.
Continue Reading CPSC Hearing Offers Companies Valuable Insights into Agency’s Priorities

UPDATE: Dr. Nancy Beck, nominated in March to be both a commissioner at and chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), will go before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation for a confirmation hearing on Tuesday, June 16. If confirmed by the full Senate, Dr. Beck’s term would run through October of 2025. Her confirmation would also shift the CPSC from a 2-2 partisan balance under Acting Chairman Bob Adler, a Democrat, to a 3-2 Republican majority.

As we speculated late last year, the White House has announced that President Trump intends to nominate Dr. Nancy Beck to both the open seat on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the chairmanship of the agency. If Dr. Beck is confirmed, the CPSC would be back to its full five-commissioner strength. Dr. Beck’s confirmation would also shift both the day-to-day management of the agency and its partisan balance, ending both current Acting Chair Bob Adler’s (D) tenure and its 2-2 party split.
Continue Reading A New Face at the CPSC? White House to Nominate Dr. Nancy Beck as Chair

Frequently the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) shares big news at the annual meeting of the International Consumer Product Health & Safety Organization (ICPHSO), the body that brings together all stakeholders in the product safety space, from consumer advocates to industry to regulators. A few years ago, then-Chairman Elliot Kaye shared his desire to see penalties in the “double-digit millions.” That statement preceded – by mere weeks – the announcement of a $15.45 million penalty against Gree Electric Appliances, Inc., the maximum penalty allowed by CPSC’s statutes.
Continue Reading CPSC to Industry: Talk to Our Lawyers