Chairman Tenenbaum Delivers ICPHSO Keynote Address


[ Silence ]>>Ed Desmond: It is really a pleasure
to introduce Chairman Tenenbaum. I know everybody in this room already knows
her and the incredible work of her staff, and the Chairman, and the Commissioners and
their staff, and this morning we’ve heard a lot about what they’re doing more recently. I just thought I’d take a couple of
seconds to highlight just a few things about her administration and how
she has really elevated the agency in the past few years that she has been there. You know, we heard this morning a few of these
things, but the increase in accessibility and transparency at the agency
is really note-worthy. Those of us in industries that are regulated
by any agency or department in Washington, can only ask for things like information and
an opportunity to know what’s going on there, and we certainly have that much more than
ever before under the Chairman’s guidance. So we really appreciate that. This morning, in Ken’s remarks,
he mentioned the increase in education and advocacy at the agency. That’s also something very note-worthy
under the Chairman’s guidance. And finally, something very important to
all of us is just the Chairman’s support, the strong support for reasonable and
effective new regulations and standards. And she’s not only been that way here in
the United States working with Congress and other departments and agencies,
but she’s done that around the world. If you look at her bio, there’s
a long list of countries — and Carol, I’m not going to sing them. You did a great job this morning. But she really has, going around, meeting with
regulators around the world, touring factories, and really taking her message of safety
around the world to a global audience. So those are — I think, some of the
highlights from our toy industry perspective. We just had an incredible
experience working with the Chairman. A number of her staff there is here, and let me
also take just a minute because it also applies to Commissioner Adler and Jason
and Jen and the entire staff of the other Commissioners, as well. So it’s great to have you all here, too. Just two weeks ago, the Chairman
and some of her staff came up to New York to our Trade Show Toy Fair. She participated in our safety seminar and
then took a lot of time to walk around, meet with a lot of the members there,
and also look at some of the new products that will be hitting the
market in the months ahead. So it’s that kind of interaction
with the Chairman and her staff, and the agency that has really meant a
lot to the toy industry over the years. So with that, this is really
not an introduction. It’s more of a welcome back, because you spoke
to us in Brussels at the last ICPHSO meeting, so please help me in giving a warm
welcome back to Chairman Tenenbaum. [ Applause ] Thank you so much.>>Inez Tenenbaum: You’re welcome. Good afternoon, everyone. And thank you so much for those very kind
words and that really gracious introduction. I appreciate it. And to my colleague, Commissioner
Adler, I’m so glad you’re here with us. Commissioner Nord [assumed spelling]
has been here throughout the meetings. I don’t know if she’s here today. I haven’t seen her, but she’s
been here at the conference. So to the ICPHSO Board of Directors and to
the members, to the CPSE staff and alumni, and to the special guests from around
the world, I am so pleased to join you in celebrating the 20th anniversary
of this distinguished organization. So much has changed since I first joined the
ICPHSO community in Toronto in October 2009. To attend that conference I had to
fly overnight over the Pacific Ocean from a safety summit with the AQSIQ in Bejing. I was a little bleary-eyed
that morning, but determined — I was determined to tell everyone
about the CPSC’s new direction. And determined to show everyone
that I can say ICPHSO. [Laughter]. I’ll never forget Mark Shome [assumed spelling]
standing in my office saying it’s ICPHSO. [Laughter]. So fast-forward almost four years, and
today makes my eighth ICPHSO conference. Thankfully it was just a short drive from — right over the Patomic River
from Bethesda to Crystal City. In the past four years, things
have changed for the better. Today, CPSC stands in the rightful place as
the global leader in consumer product safety. Today, consumer protection has
advanced so that parents can have faith in the institutions of government. Today, industries and markets have evolved and
kept pace with changes in product safety rules, and consumers are better off for it. To compare and contrast the past to the present. Out are the days of lead-laced toys sneaking into children’s toy boxes before
authorities could put up roadblocks. What’s in is CPSC’s implementing and
enforcing some of the lowest lead limits in children’s products from around the world. Down are recalls of toys due to lead violations. Down 80% since 2008. And up are the numbers of violative toys caught at import before they can
make it to the store shelves. Out are traditional drop-side
cribs which entrapped and took the lives of beautiful little children. In is CPSC implementing and
enforcing a crib standard that is the model for the rest of the world. The memories of Bobby, and Liam, and
Tyler, and so many other children live on through the safer, stronger
cribs in the stores today. Out are companies thinking that regulators
will turn a blind eye to corruption of materials along the supply chain. Children sometimes pay the ultimate price
in the race to offer the lowest unit price. What is in, I’m proud to
say, is independent testing of children’s products at
CPSC accredited laboratories. Children’s toys, games, and apparel
are coming off assembly lines in Guanjo [assumed spelling],
Hong Kong, and Mexico City. But before they are shipped to our
homeland, they are being third-party tested for conformity with US standards. What is in are companies building safety into
their design and anticipating foreseeable use and foreseeable misuse of their products. What is in are Chinese manufacturers
using best practices in their factories, and the Chinese government holding manufacturers
accountable when they do not play by the rules. These are the components of a
global market system of safety. A system of safety that parents and
consumers thought was in place years ago. They spoke out to their elected officials
when they realized that it wasn’t in place. And now their expectations for
safe products are being met, and they can shop with more confidence. Many of you in this room are the key players
in making this system of safety work. You set a corporate culture of quality
and safety in design specifications. You travel halfway around the world to do QA and
QC checks of the factories of your suppliers. You run the testing laboratories that adhere
to ILEX and ISO 17025 standards for quality. You protect against undue influence
and ensure staff is trained to carry out the CPSC’s latest testing protocols. You are the innovators. You’re the voices that deserve
to be heard in your companies. I’ve seen the next generation
of innovators in innovations, and the future of safety looks promising. I know that a coin-cell battery
can be built one day so that it will not cause severe
burns to a child’s throat if ingested. I know that affordable, cordless
window coverings can be made and that existing window
coverings can be retrofitted to eliminate the strangulation hazard. I know that ATV’s and ROV’s can be made
more stable and less prone to rollovers. We can do this. We can make our culture of
safety the best in the world. Advancements in manufacturing are vital
to the United States being a leader in product safety, as is information sharing. I believe that these past four
years have seen great improvements in communication between
consumers and all of us. The experts in safety. A guiding belief that I have promoted
during my tenure as Chairman is that effective communication and education
can be empowering and life saving. We have used that approach at the CPSC. We have doubled the number of members of the Neighborhood Safety
Network during my tenure to 7,500. We have launched a minority outreach
campaign for under-served communities. We have put information about safe sleep and
drowning prevention and poison prevention in the hands of people who have
never before heard of the CPSC. Consumers can search and report on product instances via the
trusted website, saferproducts.gov. And they are. There are more than 200,000 visits to the site
each month, and more than 12,000 reports of harm or potential harm are alive on the site. And those who [inaudible] recall information
can download an app for their smartphone, a widget for their website,
and tweets on safety. But we’re not alone in the information
sharing empowerment business. Consumers Union launched the National School
Safety program to put vital into the hands of the PTA, school systems, and educators. CU was disseminating information from CPSC, the
FDA, and others up to towards 90 million people. The Department of Health and Human
Services launched Text for Baby, which provides free text
messages to tens of thousands of women during and after their pregnancy. Many of us in this room are
supporting member of Text for Baby. And the Consumer’s Federations of
America and Kids in Danger joined forces to create an online registry of
juvenile product manufacturers who provide product registration
cards as the law allows and requires. The result of all these efforts is a more
informed and a more empowered consumer class. And a more informed and more empowered consumer
class means safer homes and safer families. Many of you are key players
in companies and organizations that are contributing to the
empowerment of consumers. You blog on safety issues, include safety alerts
in newsletters, incentivize consumers to respond to recalls, and support foundations
working to help the needy. I applaud you for your efforts. Yet there is still more that we can do. And empowered consumer class should include
consumers from every economic and social strata. We have to work harder to communicate to those who have not trusted government
as the source of information. And we have to recognize that certain
people hear about a product incident, but take no remedial action because they
believe this won’t happen in my family. CPSC’s door is always open to hearing from those
who have proven methods of new ideas on how to change consumer behavior and
advance the cause of safety. Our cause and our commitment is not
confined to the United States only. Information sharing and capacity
building with our regulatory partners and other jurisdictions has benefited
consumers here, at home, and abroad. The CPSC has forged new partnerships
with regulators in the Pacific region, Latin American, and South America. And long-standing agreements with
regulators in North America, Europe, and China have been modernized and strengthened
through collaborative safety summits. That regulators and safety advocates from
more than 30 countries are here today. 30 countries. And it speaks to the power of
ICPHSO as a unifying source for the product safety community. I believe that cooperation is the key. No one organization, no one country can solve
all the challenges posed by the global economy. I believe that we must move forward together. Government and industry, advocates and
associations, but we must work together to expand our path to the future, and to do
that we have to be mindful of our history. History at times can guide us, and
history at times is best not repeated. I believe that history will define these
past four years as a time when the CPSC moved out of the darkness and into the light, from
being a reactionary agency to being proactive. From protecting the status quo to
redefining consumer protection. My approach over the last four years, and the
approach that will guide the CPSC going forward, is based on what I call, the
next generation philosophy. To CPSC, the next generation philosophy
means that we will never be satisfied with the status quo, and we will
always push to improve the state of consumer safety for the generation to come. This philosophy is rooted in a safe — a system
of safety built to protect today’s children, and tomorrow’s children,
and the next generation. And to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. The system is driving the CPSC’s work
in the direction of injury prevention. The system has established protection
of acute and chronic hazards. And the system reaches from the source of
manufacture, to import, to the marketplace. And it is a system that is built to last. Today’s children deserved a
product safety system built to reduce their vulnerabilities,
not expose them to it. The great poet, Maya Angelou, once
said children’s talent to endure stems from their ignorance of alternatives. It is our responsibility to establish
the advances in product safety so that a child’s talent can endure. Endure without harm. Our children deserve a safe
and a healthy upbringing, and fewer unintentional injuries
than the generation before. Now I’m not talking about
an environment free of risk. Life is risky, and we have made — we are
made stronger by our ability to persevere. But I reject the notion as some espouse that
my generation survived just fine riding in cars without child seats, riding
bicycles without helmets, and playing on metal playground
equipment without safe surfacing. Even with all the progress we have made,
we still have so much work to be done. Unintentional injuries are still the leading
cause of death for children over the age of one. And unintentional injuries are one of the
leading causes of injury among children younger than 15, according to a Princeton
University researcher. Yet there are [inaudible] thinkers who want
to roll back our progress in injury prevention and recklessly expose children
to preventable risk. We have come so far, and we’ve come too far, and safety is advancing too
fast for us to turn back now. My belief in the next generation philosophy
stems from my past work in education, and it has continued during
my tenure at the CPSC. From preparing young children to be proficient
in basic math, to teaching young athletes how to protect their brains on the playing field. From preparing teenagers to be first
in their family to go to college, to making sure that a rider on an ATV or
a skateboard does not end their dreams to walk across the college campus. My life’s work has always been
about achieving healthy upbringings and bright futures for our children. And the system of safety that
the CPSC has established is all about healthy upbringings and bright futures. Here are the pillars of our system. Through a combination of federal
rules and strong consensus standards, we are doing our part to block
children’s exposure to lead, cadmium, chromium, arsenic, and other toxic metals. And these metals that can severely limit — these are metals that can severely
limit the development of children. Our system to prevent children’s exposure to toxins is more comprehensive
than the system of the past. It has addressed surface coatings and content. It has brought together the
power of congressional mandates and the scientific research by the CPSC. Our system has other protections. Certain thalates, a chemical of
concern to many parents, has — had been banned in accessible parts
of toys and childcare articles. Durable infant products, products that our
children sleep in, ride in, are fed in, are carried in, never have been safer. Cribs and bath seats, baby
walkers, toddler beds, and portable bed rails are all covered
by strong, mandatory standards. This is all thanks, in key part, to the
CPSC — CPSIA, the part called Danny’s Law. Now I have kept a picture of Danny
Keysar in my office for years. What a sweet, young boy. At the age of 16 months,
he died in the play yard, a play yard that had been previously recalled. Danny was taken far too soon from
his mom, Linda and his dad, Boaz. Far too soon. Linda and Boaz became the founders of
Kids in Danger, and they worked tirelessly to turn Danny’s tragedy into Danny’s Law. The time I’ve spend with Linda and Boaz
has been among the most meaningful moments of my tenure as Chairman. This is why I’m so a — I’m so proud
to announce that a new federal standard for play yards goes into effect today. I look out at Nancy Cowles, from Kid’s
in Danger, who is sitting here today. She too has dedicated years of her life to the
memory of Danny and pursuit of child safety. Nancy, it took 15 years, 15
long years, but we did it. [ Applause ] Again, all of the hard work we do at
the CPSC is about healthy upbringings and bright futures, and thus we press forward. Because we have safety rules that need to
be established for bassinets and cradles, bedsides sleepers, hand-held
infant carriers, strollers, slings, and so many other juvenile products. And we are pressing forward with establishing
protections for consumers of all ages. Strong compliance action and ongoing rule making
have tamped down the terrible burn hazard posed by portable gel fuel and gel pods. Open rule making and ongoing work with
the underwriter’s laboratories is aimed at reducing the life-altering
finger and hand amputations that happens every day to
woodworkers using table saws. And in support of our aging population, the CPSC
is working with the FDA to warn older consumers, their families, and health care providers about
the entrapment hazard posed by adult bed rails. This is what our system of safety is all about. Strong performance standards, better
manufacturing, independent testing, enforcement, education, and accountability. The results of this system are live saves
and injuries prevented and healthy families. When I first arrived at the CPSC, some
people questioned why I pushed so hard to complete the CPSIA rule making. I did not make the staff work at such an
exhaustive pace to complete the record number of rule making simply because
Congress told us to do so. We did it because Congress
had handed us a road map. A road map to becoming a truly proactive agency. Ask a parent what kind of
safety systems they want. As a grandparent what they
want for their grandchildren. Ask a consumer what they
want from the marketplace. The answer you consistently hear is that
they want a system that works for them, to represent their interest, to hold
manufacturers and retailers accountable. If their products put the
safety of families at jeopardy. And to have their confidence
in government restored. And this is what we have done. And I want the ICPHSO community to join
the CPSC in making our system even better. When I was a little girl, growing up
in rural Georgia, on Friday afternoons, when school let out, I frequently went
home with a friend to spend the night. The next day, when my mother came to take
me home, my friend and I would be having such a great time that we’d ask if
I could stay over another night. Most of the time, my mother
would not let me, and she’d say, “You should not outstay or
overstay your welcome.” I still believe that one should not
overstay one’s welcome in any venue, whether it’s professionally or personally. So I wanted to announce to all of you
today that I’ve asked President Obama not to re-nominate me when my
term is over in October. I plan to stay on at the Commission, however,
until my successor is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate, so I can be sure that the US Consumer Product
Safety Commission is in safe hands. I’ve been assured by the White House that
my successor will be someone who believes in and fully supports the mission
of our great agency. That is to protect consumers. So many qualified and deserving
people have wanted to serve in President Obama’s administration,
and he chose me. For the rest of my life, I will be grateful
to President Obama for nominating me Chairman of the CPSC and for giving me the
opportunity to serve in his administration. It has been my great privilege
to serve as Chairman of the CPSC, and the best part of my experience
has been working with the many talented, dedicated
people at the agency. My term as Chairman also has been greatly
enhanced by working with all of you. Consumer advocates and corporations,
trade associations, and members of ICPHSO. So I say with a very grateful heart, thank you. But in the remaining time that I have at
the CPSC, we still have a lot of work to do. So during the rest of my time
today, I’d like to talk about — with you, the future agenda of the CPSC. An agenda that will strengthen our
layers, of consumer products safety. Leading off is our import surveillance program. As the President has stated on many occasions, manufacture is making a comeback
in the United States. That comeback should not be slowed by
foreign manufacturers and domestic importers who seek a competitive advantage
by sacrificing safety. Any company, domestic or foreign, is seeking
to do business in our marketplace should adhere to the same performance standards. I believe that American manufacturers
deserve a level playing field. Exporters who do not achieve safety at the
source are on notice that they face a CPSC that is standing on guard on the front lines. Well-trained port and field investigators are
using state of the art technology to detect and detain violative products from toys
to fireworks to lighters to mattresses. As was discussed during —
throughout the morning, our port investigators are standing
arm-in-arm with inspectors from customs and border protection, CB — the CBP. CBP is one of the very best agencies in our
government, and we are proud to be co-located with them at the Commercial Targeting
and Analysis Center in Washington and at ports from coast to coast. The CPSC and the CBP staff prevented
more than four million units of violative and hazardous imports from ending up on
store shelves during the last fiscal year. I will not restate the well-presented
points made this morning about our risk assessment methodology,
which we collect our RAM pilot project. But I want to emphasize one key point. My administration has made
it one of our top priorities to increase the funding of the RAM program. More staff will be — will mean a stronger RAM and a stronger RAM will help the CPSC
be an even more proactive regulator. As great a job as our imports
investigators do, CPSC should not be limited to just 20 people working at a handful of ports. We cannot fight a fair fight with just
20 people to screen $700 billion worth of consumer product imports, $340
billion which are coming from China. The more hands we have on incoming
shipments, and the more hands we have on potential violative samples, the
safer American consumers will be, and the more level the playing field
will be for our compliant trade. I will be seeking more funding support for
our RAM program, and I need your support. Facilitating the flow of legitimate
trade is one of the benefits of the RAM. Moving compliant products through the
systems faster is good for industry, and it helps our investigators focus on
high-risk products and repeat offenders. This is a winning approach to ensure
a level playing field for trade, and I hope many of you will
express your support. I would like to discuss now a series of products
that have the potential to save hundreds of lives, prevent thousands of injuries,
and advance consumer product safety. I’m referring to one, the creation of an
upholstered furniture flammability standard that promotes the use of barrier
technology that does not require the use of flame-retardant chemicals and that can
severely slow down or prevent deadly fires. The next is an invisible
killer, carbon monoxide. Exciting research has recently been completed
by the CPSC staff, the University of Alabama, the National Institute for Standards
and Technology on gas generators engine, that emits lower levels of
CO and increases escape time. I want to see this research
turn into real-world innovation that gets incorporated into
generators for consumers. The potential to save lives is there,
now we need the know-how and the will of the industry to make it happen. Another project is window coverings. I will continue to speak out and encourage
families with young children to go cordless with the blinds and the shades in their homes. When it comes to child safety, going
cordless is the position of the Commission, it is the position of consumer
advocates, and it is the position of the industry’s Education Counsel. So consumers should know that they can
walk into a major [inaudible] retailer and special store today and
find cordless options and blinds and shades with inaccessible cords. And I believe that innovations, many of
innovators, many of whom I met last year, will chart the future of this industry. Two other products on which we
are focusing are ATV’s and ROV’s. Staff is working on separate
rule making projects, but both of these off-road vehicles are involved
in far too many incidents each year that result in death and life-altering injuries. We cannot — we will continue to work to
make these products safer and educate riders and families about the risk that they pose. Safer play and youth sports and reducing
brain injuries is also high on my list. I initiated a great program last year with the
NFL and others in the football safety community to accelerate the much needed change
in the safety culture in this sport. It was inspiring to be with NFL Commissioner
Roger Goodell and football players in Akron, Ohio during the Hall of Fame weekend to celebrate the kickoff
for this program last year. The program provides helmet assistance to
economically disadvantaged youth teams, but only if they agree to specific
steps that support player brain safety. This has been a great example of the
power of a public-private collaboration, and I am so looking forward to the
program’s growth and expanding the reach of this program this year
and in the years to come. Safer play is smarter play. It is also the future of
youth sports, I believe. Lowering the child drowning rate and maintaining
a zero death rate from the drain entrapments in pools will drive our Pool
Safety 2013 Education Campaign. We will help effected companies to understand
and comply with the continuous testing rule, which went into effect earlier this month. The periodic testing rule it
intended to fulfill two promises. A promise that Congress made to parents and
a promise that the CPSC made to children, when under my leadership, we adopted
the third-party testing requirements. The need for the independent testing of children’s products periodically
during the manufacturing process to help ensure continued compliance is
not only good manufacturing practices, it is absolutely a necessity for safety. And using the CPSC’s enforcement powers
wisely will continue to be a priority. Companies that report on time, are
responsive to letters of advice, and agree to corrective action
plans will be treated fairly. Companies that fail to report on
time, decline to agree to the terms of a corrective action plan, or
ignore repeatedly letters of advice, will feel the effects of our enforcement team. Civil penalties, stopped sales,
administrative lawsuits, and health and safety warnings are authorities that the commission takes
seriously and we use it judiciously. As many of you know, it is rare
for CPSC not to reach an agreement with a company when a recall is negotiated. In a few pending matters where the
staff filed administrative actions against a non-compliant manufacturer,
the retailers were the ones who stepped up to provide a remedy to the consumers. So I want to express my appreciation
for the proactive role that many retailers have
played in recent months. Thank you. So as you can see, the CPSC has a robust agenda. It is an agenda aimed at making
2013 even more successful than 2012. I predict that the year 2013
will be another successful year, especially if everyone joins together
to strengthen our product safety system. At the CPSC, we are up for the challenge. We are not slowing down. We are committed to employing our limited
resources not just for short-term gains, but for the greater good of the next generation. I believe that each of you
is up to the challenge, too. I believe this because your corporations,
your associations, organizations, and agencies already have missions that put the
safety and the well-being of consumers first. Collectively, we can build a global supply —
a global product safety system that supports and empowers future generations
to reach their potential. So in closing, I would like to commend ICPHSO for reaching the milestone
of its 20th anniversary. It is quite fitting that after hosting events on
three different continents across three decades, this conference has set a record for attendance. This is a testament to the thousands of hours
that product safety consultants, attorneys, association leaders, consumer advocates,
and the CPSC staff have volunteered. Volunteered because of their
believe in the ICPHSO way. Now many of the ICPHSO founders are here. Ross Koeser, Dave Shmeltzer
[assumed spelling], Michael Brown, and Joan Bergy [assumed spelling]. And the 24 founders were a
wonderful mix of CPSC staff, industry representatives, and state officials. They eventually turned over the reins to today’s
leaders, Carol Pollack-Nelson, Marc Schoem, Joan Mattson, Joan Lawrence, Mark Dewar, others. Although Ross is still the heart and
the soul of this great organization. So ICPHSO has carved out a special role in creating constructive conversations among
diverse sectors of the product safety community. These conversations bring to light
new and emerging technologies. They provide training for new members, and
provide a forum for the leading practitioners of risk assessment and quality assurance. Many of the advancements in consumer safety that are now commonplace were
first discussed at ICPHSO. So in recognition of 20 great years — excuse
me, I’ve been looking for this [laughter], let us raise our glasses and give
a toast to the next 20 years. To ICPHSO [glasses clinking]. Thank you once again. Thank you once again for the
opportunity to speak at CPSC Day, and please attend all the
guest sessions this afternoon, and I hope to spend more time
with you throughout the day. Thank you very much. [ Applause ]>>[Background applause] [Inaudible].>>Thank you.>>[Inaudible]. [ Applause ] [ Silence ]

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One thought on “Chairman Tenenbaum Delivers ICPHSO Keynote Address

  1. Start at 17:29 to hear Chairman Tenenbaum talk about Danny's law and legacy — strong standards and safer children.

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