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line. Manufacturers of hazardous products can make and ship out items that cannot be sold at retail in their own community. Without central leadership, States and municipalities are unable to chart broad spectrum product safety programs. Balkanized jurisdiction plagues some manufacturers with diverse manufacturing specifications that interfere with distribution of their products.

Common Law

The common law has not been primarily concerned with prospective enforcement of product safety but with postinjury remedies. There are no reports of consumers successfully restraining the marketing of potentially hazardous products. The costs of such litigation would be beyond the means of citizens or concerned groups.

In the absence of the contingent fee, the injured consumer most often would be unable to seek compensation for damages caused by product-related injuries. He must first be aware of his legal right to sue the producers of the defective product and, second, he must have sustained sufficient damage so that an attorney will find in his cause the promise of an adequate fee. Then, after intolerable delays, the consumer finally has a day in court in which he may be faced with overcoming an array of practical and legal hurdles.

Despite its humanitarian adaptations to meet the challenge of product-caused injuries, the common law puts no reliable restraint upon product hazards. Conclusion

Because of the inadequacy of existing controls on product hazards, we find a need for a major Federal role in the development and execution of methods to protect the American consumer. PATHS TO SAFETY

In formulating our recommendations, we elected not to choose between describing general policies, on the one hand, and prescribing specific action, on the other. Since we do not presume to anticipate the wishes of Congress, we determined to state both our general policies and their specific implications. The proposed Consumer Product Safety Act which we respectfully subrnit with this report is the concrete expression of our recommendations. Injury Factors

There are those who believe that safety, like charity, begins at home in the behavior of the familysteadying ladders, storing knives, supervising children. Others believe that safety begins with the home itself, the environment where hazardous products find their uses-good lighting, well-insulated wiring, slipproof bath

tubs and rugs, latched cabinets for medicine and household chemicals. A third view is that safety begins in the factory and involves design, construction, hazard analysis, and quality control.

None of these views is wholly right or wrong. The classical concept of epidemiology counts all three factors: host, environment, and agent. Close examination of the three uncovers many subsidiary factors: hosts of different capacities and habits; differing social, political, and psychological as well as physical environments; and agents acting in combination, additively, or serially.

With due regard for the multiple factors affecting household safety, sound strategy for a safety program is to seek the weak link in a chain of events leading to injury and to break the chain at that point.

After considering the many forces contributing to the toll of injuries in and around the American home, we have concluded that the greatest promise for reducing risks resides in energizing the manufacturer's ingenuity.

We do not mean that manufacturers by themselves can do all that is needed to achieve an optimal safety record. We mean that with Government stimulation they can accomplish more for safety with less effort and expense than any other body-more than educators, the courts, regulatory agencies, or individual consumers.

Manufacturers have it in their power to design, build, and market products in ways that will reduce if not eliminate most unreasonable and unnecessary hazards. Manufacturers are best able to take the longest strides to safety in the least time. The capacity of individual manufacturers to devise safety programs, without undue extra cost, has been demonstrated repeatedly in the course of our short history: in safety glass, double-insulated power tools, baffles on rotary mowers, noncombustible TV transformers, and releases on wringer washers.

Energy Factors

We do not imagine that, even without regard to cost, safety programs on the manufacturer's level can eliminate all household hazards. A society which uses energy in the volume and variety of forms prevalent in ours is certain to see traces of that energy go astray. Instead of doing the work intended, the energy can damage property and person. In whatever formchemical, mechanical, thermal, electrical, nuclear, acoustic-energy which is misdirected cuts, strangles, burns, bruises, fractures, suffocates, poisons, shocks, and ruptures.

Behavorial Factors

Danger is a regrettable but unavoidable facet of life. Many persons who like to fly, surf, dive, or speed us to warrant a specific finding that unreasonable hazards exist.

Self-Recognition

As related to product safety, self-regulation by trade associations and standards groups, drawing upon the resources of professional associations and independent testing laboratories, is legally unenforceable and patently inadequate.

Competitive forces may require management to subordinate safety factors to cost considerations, styling, and other marketing imperatives.

There is a dearth of factors motivating producers toward safety. Only a few of the largest manufacturers have coherent, articulated safety engineering programs. Manufacturers' efforts to obtain data on injuries and on the costs and benefits of design changes that will reduce unreasonable hazards can be charitably described as sketchy and sporadic.

Industry activities to develop safety standards can provide an important forum for marshaling the technical competence necessary for this work, but their voluntary nature inherently inhibits the development of optimal standards.

The consensus principle, which is at the heart of all voluntary standards making, is not effective for elevating safety standards. It permits the least responsible segment of an industry to retard progress in reducing hazards.

The measure of voluntary consumer protection provided by the certification programs of independent laboratories is substantial, but is theoretically flawed by the laboratory's economic dependence on the goodwill of the manufacturer even if the laboratory is nonprofit.

The protection afforded by various seals of approval is no better than the technical competence, product-testing protocols, and independence of the certifier. When an industry association awards the seal, or when it is awarded in return for paid advertising, the seal may convey a deceptive implication of third-party independence. Consumers appear to attribute to such endorsements a significance beyond their specific meaning

Protection by Law

Federal Law

Consumers assume that the Federal Government exercises broad regulatory authority in the interest of their safety. And yet the short answer to this question is that Federal authority to curb hazards in consumer products is virtually nonexistent.

Federal product safety legislation consists of a series of isolated acts treating specific hazards in narrow line. Manufacturers of hazardous products can make and ship out items that cannot be sold at retail in their own community. Without central leadership, States and municipalities are unable to chart broad spectrum product safety programs. Balkanized jurisdiction plagues some manufacturers with diverse manufacturing specifications that interfere with distribution of their products.

product categories. No Government agency possesses general authority to ban products which harbor unreasonable risks or to require that consumer products conform to minimum safety standards.

Such limited Federal authority as does exist is scattered among many agencies. Jurisdiction over a single category of products may be shared by as many as four different departments or agencies. Moreover, where it exists, Federal product safety regulation is burdened by unnecessary procedural obstacles, circumscribed investigative powers, inadequate and ill-fitting sanctions, bureaucratic lassitude, timid administration, bargain-basement budgets, distorted priorities, and misdirected technical resources.

Nevertheless, where there is adequate authority and administrative support, Federal safety standards programs have demonstrated a capacity for substantially upgrading industry safety practices.

The Federal Government operates no injury data center charged with responsibility for the systematic collection, evaluation, and dissemination of data related to product safety. It has no early-warning system to alert responsible officials in business and Government of suspected areas of latent product risk. Data on the number and nature of injuries from consumer products remain far from satisfactory, despite several revealing probes in the data collection field conducted by us.

Federal law now provides no machinery to enjoin a manufacturer from marketing consumer products that are unreasonably dangerous. There is no way to compel the recall of such products for repair or replacement.

No Federal law provides meaningful criminal penalties for manufacturers who knowingly or willfully market consumer products that create an unreasonable danger to life and health.

No Federal agency has authority to order studies or hearings to determine the presence of an unreasonable hazard in most consumer products; to order the development of standards or to issue regulations to reduce the hazard; to enforce such orders; to evaluate safety standards, tests, and standards-making procedures; to monitor compliance with safety standards; to accredit independent laboratories to check compliance; to require that information on product safety be collected and freely exchanged; to support voluntary or State programs to reduce product hazards; or to conduct programs of training and research in product safety.

State and Local Law

Our studies of State and local laws show a hodgepodge of tragedy-inspired responses to challenges that cannot be met by restricted geographical entities. Local prohibitions against sale of hazardous items cannot be enforced against the retailer across the city

Common Law

The common law has not been primarily concerned with prospective enforcement of product safety but with postinjury remedies. There are no reports of consumers successfully restraining the marketing of potentially hazardous products. The costs of such litigation would be beyond the means of citizens or concerned groups.

In the absence of the contingent fee, the injured consumer most often would be unable to

ek compensation for damages caused by product-related injuries. He must first be aware of his legal right to sue the producers of the defective product and, second, he must have sustained sufficient damage so that an attorney will find in his cause the promise of an adequate fee. Then, after intolerable delays, the consumer finally has a day in court in which he may be faced with overcoming an aray of practical and legal hurdles.

Despite its humanitarian adaptations to meet the challenge of product-caused injuries, the common law puts no reliable restraint upon product hazards. Conclusion

Because of the inadequacy of existing controls on product hazards, we find a need for a major Federal role in the development and execution of methods to protect the American consumer. PATHS TO SAFETY

In formulating our recommendations, we elected not to choose between describing general policies, on the one hand, and prescribing specific action, on the other. Since we do not presume to anticipate the wishes of Congress, we determined to state both our general policies and their specific implications. The proposed Consumer Product Safety Act which we respectfully submit with this report is the concrete expression of our recommendations. Injury Factors

There are those who believe that safety, like charity, begins at home in the behavior of the familysteadying ladders, storing knives, supervising children. Others believe that safety begins with the home itself, the environment where hazardous products find their uses-good lighting, well-insulated wiring, slipproof bath

tubs and rugs, latched cabinets for medicine and household chemicals. A third view is that safety begins in the factory and involves design, construction, hazard analysis, and quality control.

None of these views is wholly right or wrong. The classical concept of epidemiology counts all three factors: host, environment, and agent. Close examination of the three uncovers many subsidiary factors: hosts of different capacities and habits; differing social, political, and psychological as well as physical environments; and agents acting in combination, additively, or serially.

With due regard for the multiple factors affecting household safety, sound strategy for a safety program is to seek the weak link in a chain of events leading to injury and to break the chain at that point.

After considering the many forces contributing to the toll of injuries in and around the American home, we have concluded that the greatest promise for reducing risks resides in energizing the manufacturer's ingenuity.

We do not mean that manufacturers by themselves can do all that is needed to achieve an optimal safety record. We mean that with Government stimulation they can accomplish more for safety with less effort and expense than any other body-more than educators, the courts, regulatory agencies, or individual consumers.

Manufacturers have it in their power to design, build, and market products in ways that will reduce if not eliminate most unreasonable and unnecessary hazards. Manufacturers are best able to take the longest strides to safety in the least time. The capacity of individual manufacturers to devise safety programs, without undue extra cost, has been demonstrated repeatedly in the course of our short history: in safety glass, double-insulated power tools, baffles on rotary mowers, noncombustible TV transformers, and releases on wringer washers.

Energy Factors

We do not imagine that, even without regard to cost, safety programs on the manufacturer's level can eliminate all household hazards. A society which uses energy in the volume and variety of forms prevalent in ours is certain to see traces of that energy go astray. Instead of doing the work intended, the energy can damage property and person. In whatever formchemical, mechanical, thermal, electrical, nuclear, acoustic-energy which is misdirected cuts, strangles, burns, bruises, fractures, suffocates, poisons, shocks, and ruptures.

Behavorial Factors

Danger is a regrettable but unavoidable facet of life. Many persons who like to fly, surf, dive, or speed Technical problems of assuring the quality of a product can be difficult to manage, particularly when demands are high and labor in short supply. When the will to make a product safe is weak, protection for the consumer is even weaker. Among many manufacturers, fortunately, the will to reduce hazards is not weak, but it may be frustrated by competitive forces.

The Government Role

Paradoxically, the processes of Government share the onus for our lagging product safety efforts. Rightly or wrongly, antitrust considerations are broadly construed to outlaw agreements by competitors to expunge particular hazards from the marketplace. While exemption from the antitrust laws would create more problems than it would solve, the sincere efforts of many producers to achieve uniform optimum safety for their products can be frustrated without positive governmental involvement.

For the following reasons, we conclude that the Federal Government, both to protect consumers and to strengthen manufacturers' efforts, should enact comprehensive legal measures to reduce hazards:

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are proud of their ability to cope with it. Usually, they are keenly conscious of the hazards and take pains to control them.

But everyone, at one time or another, suffers from complacency, a certainty that everything is under control, that injuries happen only to the other fellow. Then, in that moment of carefree confidence, disaster strikes. The mower goes over a grade, slips out of control, and the blades chop at the feet. Many, with utmost care, commit themselves to handling dangerous instruments which, for lack of experience, knowledge, or skill, they cannot manage. An ineradicable minority is careless; they will wear a flammable garment near an open fire; use a power saw without a guard; work a lathe without safety glasses.

Environmental Factors

In addition to such behavioral factors, a hazardous environment aggravates the frequency and severity of injuries. Some environmental hazards are sporadic: power surges, extremes of temperature or humidity. The worst hazards are common and chronic.

The majority of American homes contain potential electrical fire and shock hazards: wom or defective wiring, overloaded circuits, or an absence of grounding. Injuries result from dim lighting, uneven floors, irregular steps, slippery surfaces, obstacles, steep inclines, poor drainage, or faulty ventilation. Broken glass and rusty cans litter yards and alleys. Much of a child's play amounts to running a gantlet of environmental hazards. Manufacturers' Responsibility

Prospects for measurable reform of human behavior are distant. Similarly, there is little hope for an early improvement of the home environment. The limited power of conventional educational methods has been described by our witnesses.

Consequently, while continuing to educate and seeking even better ways, there seems little choice but to concentrate on reducing unreasonable hazards by en. couraging additional care in the design and manufacture of products.

The law has tended in recent years to place full responsibility for injuries attributable to defective prod. ucts upon the manufacturer.

But beyond his liability for damages, a producer owes society at-large the duty to assure that unnecessary risks of injury are eliminated. He is in the best position to know what are the safest designs, materials, construction methods, and modes of use. Before anyone else, he must explore the boundaries of potential danger from the use of his product. He must be in a position to advise the buyer competently how to use and how to maintain and repair the product.

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Independent Federal Authority

Statutory regulatory programs buried in agencies with broad and diverse missions have, with few exceptions, rarely fulfilled their mission. The specific experience of safety programs relating to hazardous substances, pesticides, and flammable fabrics is discussed later in some detail.

The reasons for their weaknesses include lack of adequate funding and staffing because of competition with other deserving programs within an agency; lack of vigor in enforcing the law caused by an absence of authority and independence in some Federal administra. tors; and a low priority assigned to programs of low visibility.

Of course, not all Federal safety programs which are part of larger agencies exhibit these symptoms. The broad-based Federal Trade Commission displayed admirable vigor in proceeding against health hazards of cigarettes. The Federal Highway Administration of the Department of Transportation, though lightly staffed and funded, is working effectively to reduce the toll of injuries from automobile accidents.

Notwithstanding these efforts, when a Federal agency must take up substantial and controversial issues of consumer safety and economics, we believe it needs independent status.

Independence can be furthered by appointment of commissioners on a nonpartisan basis, for staggered fixed terms subject to removal only for cause, and by designation of a permanent chairman to serve an entire term in that capacity.

Another reason for our recommendation of an independent Commission stems from our own experience over the past 2 years. Elsewhere in this report, we describe some of the significant safety innovations which have been adopted by industry after issues were raised by this Commission. As a result of our hearings and public exposure, industry took important steps for safety.

Visibility has aided us in communicating public needs to business. We believe that a highly visible Consumer Product Safety Commission will have the potential to deal firmly and at arm's length with the industries it must regulate in behalf of the public.

The high visibility of a vigorous independent commission would also be a constant reminder of the Federal presence and would itself stimulate voluntary

When some manufacturers ignore safety standards, only Government can assure compliance. To implement compliance, only Government can require that authorized laboratories certify that products meet safety requirements. Government can assure that programs to inspect products and report injuries will be effectively financed. Government should enjoin actions which carelessly put the consumer in jeopardy. And, when voluntary safety standards are absent or insufficient, Government should insist that industry devise a sufficient

standard or develop and issue its own. CRITICAL QUESTIONS

Having concluded that remedial action was essential to reduce product hazards to consumers, we faced certain critical questions:

(1) Should Federal authority be extended to new

programs to reduce unreasonable hazards in consumer products and, if so, what form should such

authority take? (2) In view of the frustrations and disappointments

characterizing some Federal efforts in behalf of the consumer,

what could be done to strengthen such efforts and bolster the position of the consumer in the sometimes intricate regulatory

processes? (3) What role should mandatory safety standards play

in reducing product hazards?

We approached these questions without prejudice. In framing judgments, we relied on our own hearings and inquiries as well as the literature of administrative law and Government regulation. On the whole, our approach was pragmatic. We looked at what had been done and at a variety of critiques and proposals as indications of what might be done"-9. And we concluded, with virtual unanimity, that

Broad responsibility for the safety of consumer products should be vested in a conspicuously independent Federal regulatory agency, a Consumer

Product Safety Commission (CPSC), appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate''.

There should be one official appointed by the
President as a Consumer Safety Advocate to the
Commission's staff, whose primary responsibility
is to serve as the consumer's spokesman before the
CPSC on all issues within its jurisdiction''.

Note. -- Figures in superscript indicate references in Appendix II.

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