Monday May 13, 2019
Groups Ramp Up Pressure for Increased CSU Requirements
A coalition of six advocacy groups May 6 sent members of Congress a letter (bit.ly/306Tmwb) and fact sheet (bit.ly/2Jbkm8I) seeking passage of HR 2211. This is the STURDY Act (PSL, 4/15/19), which is aimed at addressing the stability of clothing storage units (CSUs). Their letter asserted:
"The current voluntary standard has not done enough to reduce tip-overs. It applies only to dressers over 30 inches tall, even though children have been killed by shorter dressers. It also is tested to only a 50- pound load, which does not adequately address the weight of a five-year-old. In addition, the current tests do not account for the real-world situations that may contribute to tipping – such as carpeting, whether drawers are full, and the dynamic force of a child climbing onto furniture. Most importantly, manufacturers can choose to not meet this voluntary standard, even as weak as it is."
The groups were American Academy of Pediatrics, Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Reports, Kids in Danger, Parents Against Tipovers, and Public Citizen.
Then, following the May 9 recall of chests of drawers linked to two tipovers with one death (see related chart in this issue), four of the groups put out another statement (bit.ly/2YgR5Na) calling the action "long overdue" and noting it is the first CSU recall since September 2017. They criticized elements of the recall, stating:
"The recall also allows for anchoring the dresser, which we do not recommend considering more safety-protective options. We urge the CPSC to stop allowing companies to leave unstable and deadly dressers in people’s homes when they’ve issued a recall."
The groups were Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Reports, Kids in Danger, and Parents Against Tipovers.
They also voiced concern that proposals to change the ASTM F2057 would face industry opposition at a May 10 ballot-results discussion (after the PSL deadline), so might not advance. Those involve increasing a weight for certain stability tests from 50 to 60 pounds and changing the trigger height for whether CSUs are covered from 30 to 27 inches (PSL, 3/18/19). CPSC Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle, earlier this year, put her support behind those changes (PSL, 3/4/19).
At the same time, CPSC compliance staff sent a letter to industry warning that failure to comply with the 2017 version of F2057 could lead to determinations of substantial product hazards and possible follow-up actions like demands for recalls. The agency would need to update that letter to reflect any 2019 changes.
In April, the American Home Furnishings Alliance wrote (bit.ly/2JvjMlf) that it supported CSPC's move towards a mandatory standard, suggesting that the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) renders the congressional action unnecessary. The bill would direct CPSC action within a year of passage. The organization also expressed concern with a lack of a height trigger as well as saying there is a lack of precision in the bill's provisions calling for testing on carpets and dynamic testing with loaded drawers.