Monday, January 26, 2009

Total Recall

I seriousoly began to wonder if the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission(CPSC) was even a functional agency after eight years of the Bush Administration where serious consumer concerns about defective or dangerous products were often nearly routinely ignored by this agency. Nancy Nord was formerly the head of federal government relations for one of worst corporate polluters, Eastman Kodak, until Bush appointed her as the acting head of the CPSC to help weaken consumer protections. There have been calls by some organizations for Nord to resign. And these calls should only grow stronger with the new administration now in power in Washington where consumer protection is likely to taken far more seriously.

Today, I nearly had a cardiac and wondered if my old angina problems had returned when I received a recall notice in the mail where Maytag Corporation was working in cooperation with the CPSC to recall 2.3 million dishwashers that have a fire risk due to liquid drying agent which can leak into the internal wiring and short and cause a house fire. So far there have been reports of 135 such fires, including four injuries. Apparently, Nancy Nord has failed to completely gut out this important consumer protection agency like some fisherman would a fish.

During the Bush years I reported to the CPSC about a small brand of a digital camera that I bought from a company called Largan which seemed like a reasonable camera for a few days until the battery suddenly exploded while I was using it and burnt my fingers and sprayed fire on the rug and my shirt. But under Nord's leadership, this camera fire was not taken too seriously by the agency. When I contacted Largan about the issue, someone there even threatened me with legal action unless I shut up. But then finally the president of the company offered to investigate the matter if I handed the evidence of the fire and explosion over to them. But this was evidence I needed to keep for the CPSC, which stalled around on the matter, and left me out the cost of the camera, a shirt and a rug. Fortunately my burns healed rather well in a few days as well. Finally nothing came of the CPSC actions on the fire and explosion.

But when the CPSC wouldn't take a digital camera explosion and fire very seriously to at least examine the item and see what the problem was, then you knew that the Bush Administration philosophy of government was simply aimed at weakening consumer safety. In fact, under Nord the CPSC only has one dangerous toy inspector for the entire United States, and yet some persons wonder why children have been endangered with defective toys from China painted with lead paint or other dangers. In fact, it has mostly been state run consumer agencies that have identified serious toy or other product defects, not the Nord controlled CPSC.

Amazingly, a dangerous toy called Aqua Dots were actually recalled by the CPSC which had to be the greatest miracle yet known to mankind since the raising of Lazarus. Apparently Nord must have considered this toy that caused children to have a coma and to die was finally a serious enough of a reason to finally act to urge a voluntary recall of the Canadian toy product.

So it at least appears that the Nord ruled CPSC at least once in a great moon still identifies a dangerous product or two with the Maytag notices sent out to millions of dishwasher owners, perhaps sparing a few a dreaded house fire.

Maytag will either send out repairmen for free of charge in-house repairs or else offer a $75 cash voucher in other cases. This company is acting responsibly to address this issue.

So it appears that the Nancy Nord CPSC is a far weaker agency than it once was before Bush. But the agency does act in the public interest for consumer once in a while. But whether Nord keeps her Job is still a good question. Nord's second term at the CPSC won't end until Oct of 2012 unless she is asked to quit by the Obama Administration.


Post a Comment

<< Home