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Obama Names New CPSC Chair

Published May 5, 2009

WASHINGTON (BRAIN)—President Obama on Tuesday nominated Inez Moore Tenenbaum as chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and Robert S. Adler as a new commissioner.

If confirmed by Congress, Tenenbaum would replace outgoing chair Nancy Nord, a George W. Bush appointee.

President Obama also announced plans to increase the commission from three seats to five and to budget $107 million for the department, an increase of 71 percent since 2007.

Bob Burns, head of the legislative committee for the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association and general counsel for Trek, said he didn’t yet know what impact the extra funding and new leadership would have on the industry’s pending petition for an exemption from a rule that limits the amount of lead in children’s products to 600 parts per million.

Some small bike parts, like valve stems, exceed the lead limit, which is part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, or CPSIA. Earlier this year, the industry filed an exclusion petition to the Commission seeking exemption from the lead rule due to its potentially devastating impact on the bicycle industry. The Commission has not responded to the petition, but denied a similar request from the motorcycle/ATV industry.

On Monday, the Commission gave that industry a reprieve, issuing a stay of enforcement for lead levels in certain parts on youth off-road motorcycles and snowmobiles and ATVs until May 2011.

Industry consultant Jay Townley said Obama’s move on Tuesday to beef up the Commission will likely mean a more proactive CPSC in the future.

“The CPSIA will be an immediate focus and priority because it already has loose ends and unanswered questions that need addressing by the commission, and which Chairman Nord has already said, when she submitted her resignation about a month ago, she just can't deal with,” Townley said.

Townley believes the outdated Bicycle Safety Standards will also be high on the Commission’s priority list.

—Nicole Formosa

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