Concept

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Summary
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC, CPSC, or commission) is an independent agency of the United States government. The CPSC seeks to promote the safety of consumer products by addressing "unreasonable risks" of injury (through coordinating recalls, evaluating products that are the subject of consumer complaints or industry reports, etc.); developing uniform safety standards (some mandatory, some through a voluntary standards process); and conducting research into product-related illness and injury. In part due to its small size, the CPSC attempts to coordinate with outside parties—including companies and consumer advocates—to leverage resources and expertise to achieve outcomes that advance consumer safety. The agency was created in 1972 through the Consumer Product Safety Act. The agency reports to Congress and the President; it is not part of any other department or agency in the federal government. The CPSC has five commissioners, who are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate for staggered seven-year terms. Historically, the commission was often run by three commissioners or fewer. Since 2009, however, the agency has generally been led by five commissioners, one of whom serves as chairman. The commissioners set policy for the CPSC. The CPSC is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland. The commissioners of the CPSC are appointed by the U.S. president and with the consent of the U.S. Senate. As with some other U.S. federal independent agencies, commissioners are selected as members of political parties. Although the president is entitled by statute to select the chairman (with the consent of the Senate), no more than three commissioners may belong to the same party. Thus, the president is generally expected to consult with members of the opposite party in the Senate to select members of the commission from the opposite party. The commissioners (including the chairman) vote on selecting the vice chairman, who becomes acting chairman if the chairman’s term ends upon resignation or expiration.
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