As we enter the midst of the holiday shopping season, consumers—and the attorneys who represent them—should be aware of the implications of an antiquated rule governing the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (Commission or CPSC) that restricts access to information about hazardous consumer products in the marketplace: Section 6(b). Because of §6(b), consumers continue to be exposed to dangerous goods, even after the danger is known to the CPSC.

Section 6(b)’s Impact on the CPSC

The Commission was established in 1972 under the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) with a series of mandates, including “to protect the public against unreasonable risks of injury associated with consumer products.” 15 U.S.C. §2051(b)(1). The Commission’s mandate is broad, as the official CPSC website recognizes the wide range of products that are subject to its safety oversight, stating that its jurisdiction runs the gamut “from coffee makers, to toys, to lawn mowers, to fireworks.”