Proposed Bill Seeks to Make it Easier for CPSC to Warn the Public About Defective Products

The legislation comes following delayed warnings about problems with Peloton treadmills, after the company prevented the CPSC from telling the public about the risk of injuries.

With millions of consumer products recalled each year due to defective designs which pose risks for Americans, lawmakers have introduced a new bill that would allow federal safety officials to warn the public about dangerous products before official recall announcements made, and without requiring the manufacturer’s permission.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the Sunshine in Product Safety Act this month, seeking to remove current restrictions that prevent the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) from warning the public before voluntary recalls are issued.

The CPSC is an independent federal regulatory agency that was created in 1972, under the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA), which is tasked with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death pertaining to thousands of types of consumer products. While the CPSC is equipped with regulatory power to impose penalties and other enforcement actions against companies, the current restrictions under the CPSA prohibit the agency from releasing any company-related information to the public without the manufacturer’s permission.

The restrictions essentially block the CPSC from telling the public about potentially dangerous products until the manufacturer give approval, and also allows companies to veto CPSC warnings, which can, and has, delayed safety recalls from being issued to warn consumers. However, the recently introduced legislation by Blumenthal and Schakowsky seeks to remove these restrictions which are set forth in Section 6(b) of the CPSA.

The lawmakers called the restrictions are a “regulatory straightjacket,” which prevents the CPSC from acting in the best interest of consumers and prohibits the agency from doing what it was created to do. Blumenthal and Schakowsky indicate that by allowing companies to silence regulators and delay timely notices, it puts consumers at unnecessary risk.

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Bill Triggered By Peloton Recall

The bill was first introduced in 2021, after Peloton disregarded the CPSC’s recommendations to warn about problems with Pelaton treadmills, and refused to issue a recall, despite having knowledge of dozens of reports involving pets or young children who became trapped under the rear of the treadmill.

In an effort to alert the public of the imminent threat and growing injury reports, the CPSC issued a Peloton+ treadmill warning in April 2021, which was immediately challenged by Peloton, claiming the CPSC issued an inaccurate and misleading warning regarding the company’s top product. However, despite Peloton’s apparent efforts to maintain their image to the public, the company ultimately issued a Peloton+ treadmill recall in May 2021, following at least 72 reported injuries.

“This bill puts consumers first and will save lives. I look forward to advancing this bill. But it will not be enough alone,” Schakowsky said in a March 16 press release. “Companies must do more to retrieve recalled products quickly and effectively. Together we can end these preventable deaths and injuries and ensure the safety of our children.”


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