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CPSC got a black eye recently when the Los Angeles Times published a story Sept. 27 criticizing the agency for failure to issue a consumer warning when it knew of faulty gas-fired forced-air furnaces installed in thousands of California homes.

CPSC got a black eye recently when the Los Angeles Times published a story Sept. 27 criticizing the agency for failure to issue a consumer warning when it knew of faulty gas-fired forced-air furnaces installed in thousands of California homes. CPSC had been dealing with the issue since 1997, but because of a class-action lawsuit, and a delay caused by the company going into bankruptcy, delayed any public notice. When contacted by the Los Angeles Times reporter, the agency's public affairs office erroneously cited a statutory prohibition against public announcements during negotiations with companies as the reason it had not issued a warning. The reporter also quoted Rachel Weintraub of the California Public Interest Research Group, who said that the failure was due to CPSC's lack of financial resources. Neither excuse was true. By law, the agency must give a company 30 days' notice before issuing such a warning, but chose not to do so. However, on Sept. 27, the day of the Los Angeles Times story, CPSC issued a public notice about the defective California furnaces. "It just underscores the fact that unless a safety issue deals with children, or is glamorous, like amusement park rides, it can fall through the cracks here," remarked one cynical insider.
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Publication:CPSC Monitor
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Sep 1, 2000
Words:208
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