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Which laws grant authority and enforcement power to the CPSC?

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, as its name suggests, is an agency that protects American consumers. As is explained in the agency’s “About CPSC” section, this federal body is responsible for monitoring products that could contain product defects involving electrical, fire, chemical or mechanical hazards. A number of federal laws provide the CPSC with the authority and enforcement power it needs to monitor consumer products. 

The statutes that established and give authority to the CPSC are outlined in the agency’s “Regulations, Laws & Standards” section. The CPSC was established in 1972 by the Consumer Product Safety Act. Under this law, the agency can establish administrative regulations, has recall authority and has the ability to ban products. The CPSA was amended in 2008 with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which provided the agency with new regulatory tools to address specific issues such as toy safety, ATVs, imports and lead. In 2011 the CPSIA was amended to give the CPSC more authority and control over existing product safety laws that dealt with consumer safety. 

In addition to the above statutes, the CPSC is given authority over other issues through various federal laws. These include the:

  • Children’s Gasoline Burn Prevention Act
  • Federal Hazardous Substances Act
  • Labeling of Hazardous Materials Act
  • Flammable Fabrics Act
  • Refrigerator Safety Act
  • Poison Prevention Packaging Act

These laws aim to provide safety protocols and standards for products used by consumers. Should a manufacturer or distributor fail to meet up to these standards, those parties may face recalls, fines and other penalties from the CPSC and/or other federal agencies. 

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