National Press Club

Consumer agency spread thin at U.S. ports, but stopping millions of unsafe products, Tenenbaum says

August 9, 2012 | By Terry Hill | terry@terryhillcommunications.com

Inez Tenenbaum, chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, speaks at a National Press Club Newsmaker on Aug. 9, 2012.

Inez Tenenbaum, chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, speaks at a National Press Club Newsmaker on Aug. 9, 2012.

Photo/Image: Noel St. John

The Consumer Product Safety Commission staffs the nation's 300 ports with just 550 people, Commission Chairwoman Inez Tenenbaum said Thursday at a Newsmaker event.

“We’re working to find the proper balance between the flow of commerce and detaining dangerous consumer products," she said.

During 2011, CPSC’s Office of Import Surveillance found more than 1,100 violations of safety standards and halted the entry of 4.5 million unsafe products into the United States, many of which were designed for children, she said.

The commission is serious about protecting the public, Tenenbaum said after announcing that GE had agreed to voluntarily recall 1.3 million dishwashers found to pose a fire hazard.

Tenenbaum also addressed football helmet safety concerns. The commission and the National Football League have launched a pilot project to encourage youth league teams to upgrade helmets and to teach blocking and tackling techniques that minimize potential injuries.