Product Liability

new CPSC chairman is a devoted child and public safety advocate

The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission announced that it has sworn in its new Chairman, Inez Tenebaum, an attorney and child advocate who recently completed two terms as South Carolina’s State Superintendent of Education. Ms. Tenenbaum was nominated by President Obama on June 9 and confirmed by the Senate on June 19. Her term will expire in October 2013.

“I am honored to have been nominated by the President to lead CPSC and plan to be a consumer advocate for families across the United States,” Chairman Tenenbaum said in a statement released by the CPSC.

“My life’s work has been to improve the quality of life for children and it will continue to be my highest priority at CPSC,” she added.

During Ms. Tenenbaum’s tenure as South Carolina’s Superintendent of Education, state, national, and international tests showed student achievement improved faster than in any other state. By the end of her tenure in 2007, the journal Education Week ranked South Carolina’s public school system number one nationwide for academic standards, assessment, and accountability systems.

Prior to her Superintendent position, Ms. Tenenbaum practiced health, environmental, and public interest law. She also has extensive experience working for the South Carolina state legislature on a number of issues relating to child welfare, juvenile corrections, social services, public health, environmental matters, state military affairs, and local government.

Ms. Tenenbaum earned her Master of Education degree from the University of Georgia and her law degree from the University of South Carolina. She also has received many honorary degrees and has been recognized by several state and community organizations for her civic work.

In her first official statement as CPSC Chairman, Ms. Tenenbaum indicated she intends to tamp down on importation and distribution of dangerous and defective products, especially products designed for children. She intends to create an electronic compilation of product incident reports that the public can access and search.

Ms. Tenenbaum also plans to make education and advocacy a top priority at the CPSC, saying that she strongly believes “all consumers should be informed about product hazards, especially those that impact children.”

“I encourage every consumer to log on to CPSC.gov and sign up to receive free e-mail alerts about recalls,” she said.

The CPSC will also be more aggressive in enforcing the law when it comes to the distribution of dangerous imports, adding CPSC staff in major ports, conducting tests at third-party laboratories, and taking other measures improve public safety.