Window Covering Manufacturers: Produce Data Supporting Latest Revision of Safety Standard “WCMA’s decision to revisit the voluntary standard represents a significant opportunity to put an end to the tragically predictable and over two-decade long trend of one child dying each month from...
BigNews.Biz - Dec 30,2016 - Blumenthal to Window Covering Manufacturers: Produce Data Supporting Latest Revision of Safety Standard
[WASHINGTON, DC] – Ahead of an end-of-year goal to develop critical new safety standards for dangerous window covering cords, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ranking Member on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security, criticized major window covering manufacturers for failing to provide data that provides key support for the latest version of the voluntary standard for window coverings. The new standards are being developed in response to a letter from Blumenthal and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) calling for strong child safety protections, but the most recent draft does not require all window coverings to be cordless. Rather, the draft standard includes a cordless requirement for “stock” products, but not “custom” products.
“WCMA’s decision to revisit the voluntary standard represents a significant opportunity to put an end to the tragically predictable and over two-decade long trend of one child dying each month from window covering cords,” Blumenthal said. “To ensure that the new updated standard is truly effective, it is critical that we know what portion of the market will be affected by the new standards. I am disappointed WCMA has not been transparent with this information, and has not yet heeded my call to produce data that is fundamentally important to developing new safety standards. I urge them to do so immediately. “
Blumenthal wrote to the Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA) and Springs Window Fashions requesting information “to have a clear understanding of the current window covering market and its trajectory, including what share of the market is sold as “custom” and as “stock,” including online sales in both categories, so that we can accurately assess to what extent the new standard will effectively protect young children.”
In June, in response to a letter from Blumenthal and Klobuchar, as well as pressure from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, WCMA announced it would revise its voluntary safety standard for window covering products to address the strangulation risk posed by accessible cords. Nearly every month for decades, at least one child has strangled to death on a window covering cord. The Consumer Federation of America reported yesterday that four children have been killed in the last six weeks.
Blumenthal has also led efforts to protect children of military families and families seeking federal housing assistance who may be particularly vulnerable to this hazard. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Blumenthal included a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 directing the Secretary of Defense to remove and replace window coverings with accessible cords from military housing units in which children under the age of nine reside.
In April, Blumenthal wrote the Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, urging them to take action to protect children from dangerous window covering cords in military housing and federally assisted housing. Enclosed in the