A heavyweight battle has been brewing between the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the powerful window-covering industry, with children’s safety hanging in the balance. For years, Parents for Window Blind Safety and other supporting consumer advocates have sounded alarms about hazardous cords on blinds that have led to hundreds of child injuries and deaths. But companies have dragged their feet on eliminating the deadly threat, favoring profits over people. Now, the consumer watchdog has stepped into the ring, but the manufacturers are fighting back hard.
The federal regulators recently flexed its regulatory muscle by approving a new mandatory safety standard to make corded blinds obsolete. But the Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA) quickly counterpunched with a lawsuit seeking to obliterate the rule. Their legal challenge sends a chilling message – corporate interests will undermine child protections at any cost.
Round 1 goes to the industry as an appeals court overturned the CPSC rule citing bureaucratic blunders. Yet the judges ignored the decades of WCMA interference that sabotaged progress and left families vulnerable. Now the CPSC must strategize its next move quickly, as children continue to be harmed by flawed window treatments while this slugfest drags on.
The window covering heavyweights are used to pummeling the competition and resisting reforms that would eat into profits. But the scrappy CPSC has proven it can go the distance against special interests on behalf of consumers. As the bell rings for Round 2, the safety of America’s kids hangs in the balance. My money is on the agency packing the bigger punch and championing change. The window covering bosses may have money on their side, but regulators have the law and rights on theirs. Time for the CPSC to land the knockout blow and protect our children once and for all!
This battle highlights the high-stakes clashes that happen regularly between profit-protecting industries and safety-focused regulators. But when children’s lives are at risk, we must empower oversight, not corporate obstruction. Here’s hoping the referee properly recognizes where the true hazards lie in this fight. Our kids deserve nothing less.
For more information, see the Consumer Federation of America’s Blog on this topic.