The balance of power at the CPSC will shift after Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle’s surprising announcement that she will leave the CPSC this fall. Buerkle has served as a CPSC Commissioner for six years and the Acting Chairman of the agency for almost half that time. President Trump has nominated Buerkle to be the permanent Chairman three times (2017, 2018, and 2019), but each time the Senate failed to vote on her nomination. Buerkle announced she is withdrawing her 2019 nomination to become the permanent Chairman and to serve an additional seven-year term. She will continue as Acting Chairman until September 30 and will complete the remainder of her term as Commissioner until October 27. She says that afterward, she will “pursue new opportunities that will allow me to continue my life’s work of advocacy and public service as well as spend more time with my six children and eighteen grandchildren.”
Buerkle’s departure from the CPSC in October is significant because it will leave the agency with two Commissioners appointed by a Democratic president and two appointed by a Republican president. Republican Commissioners Peter Feldman and Dana Baiocco are likely the leading candidates to be named Acting Chairman. Further, President Trump may opt to nominate a new Commissioner prior to the expiration of Buerkle’s term. Of course, the Senate will have to confirm that nomination—a process that has been slow in recent years.
With the July 4 holiday comes the tragic reminder that fireworks pose great risks to users and spectators alike. Four recalls were issued for fireworks this month for violations of federal standards and explosion and burn hazards. Fireworks are one of the few products with product standards codified in federal regulations. One of the recalls was triggered by an eight-year-old boy losing his hand after lighting the broken end of a firework. The fireworks were recalled for being overloaded by pyrotechnics.
Total Recalls: 28
Hazards: Fire/Burn/Shock (6); Violation of Federal Standard (6); Crash (3); Laceration (2); Fall (2); Choke (1); Impact (1); Entrapment (1); Tip-Over (1); Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (1); Drowning (1); Failure to Alert (1); Infant Fatalities (1); Incorrect Owner’s Manual (1)