Monday, July 26, 2010

ALERT - the Commission needs your feedback regarding moving to 100ppm lead!

As many businesses may not yet know, the CPSIA requires that the lead content limits for children’s products automatically be lowered to 100ppm (from 300ppm) by August 2011. Essentially, all children’s products will have to be “lead-free” by that time, even if becoming lead-free provides zero additional safety benefit for children. The Commission is now asking for industry feedback on the “technological feasibility” of reducing the lead in their products to 100ppm—is it even possible? And what will be the consequences? Please see the link below on our website. I strongly encourage those that are affected to respond!

Draft Federal Register Notice: Request for Comments and Information - Technological Feasibility of 100 ppm Lead Content Limit for Children's Products, July 13, 2010 [PDF]

Monday, July 12, 2010

Myth #4: The Pool Safety Council has no financial interest in secondary systems.

Just as health insurance companies lobby Congress and federal agencies for healthcare solutions that benefit their bottom line, it is not surprising that people who develop and sell back-up systems created an association to promote the use of their product. In fact, the founder of the Pool Safety Council, a group that has lobbied Congress and other organizations to require that all pools have back-up system technology, was the President of a back-up system manufacturer until only this past February.

The Pool Safety Council is promoting their petition claiming the CPSC “reversed their guidance of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGB), removing important entrapment prevention requirements.” However, unblockable drain covers are the safest form of protection against entrapments. They are the only safeguard against all five types of entrapment and the only choice that prevents entrapment from occurring in the first place. If we had not found an unblockable drain cover to be sufficient, there would be no incentive for pool owners to install unblockable drain covers in addition to a costly back-up system, and thus pools would not have the most effective form of protection.

The petition goes on to say, “The reversal brings into question the influence representatives from the pool industry have in CPSC's decision-making process.” In fact, no group has pressured CPSC more than the Pool Safety Council. Speaking for myself, I have had no communication from any other pool representative except for those that have a financial interest in requiring back-up systems. I consider it a triumph of safety over special interests that despite all the pressure from those who have financial interest in requiring back-up systems, that the CPSC decided to adopt a new, safer technology. The Pool Safety Council lobbies for a tighter definition of unblockable drain because pools with unblockable drains are not required to buy their product!

The Commission is responsible for making decisions that promote safety and in this case, making sure that every public pool is as safe as possible. When we adopted the determination that an unblockable drain cover is equivalent to an unblockable drain, we made that decision based on safety.

For more information on the founder of the Pool Safety Council, click here: Pennington Leaves Vac-Alert

Friday, July 9, 2010

Have a safe weekend at the pool!

Myth #3: “The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGB Act) focuses on entrapment because that is the leading cause of drowning.”

Facts: Unfortunately, an average of 385 children lose their lives playing in the pool each year and the CPSC has made preventing these terrible tragedies one of our highest priorities.

Are entrapments the primary cause of these incidents? No. While entrapments are the main focus of the VGB Act, they are a very serious but rare type of drowning incident. Of the roughly 3,400 drowning deaths that occur each year in the United States, entrapments account for about 1 per year. Of the 12 entrapment deaths since 1999, only 5 occurred at public pools or spas. Since only public pools and spas are addressed by the VGB Act, over half of entrapments would not even have been prevented by the Act.

That is why I am so excited that the CPSC has launched “Pool Safely,” a national public education campaign designed to raise public awareness, support industry compliance, and improve safety at pools and spas. Pool Safely emphasizes the importance of alert adult supervision and swimming lessons for children as well as learning CPR, installing pool alarms, and placing gated barriers around pools. Through Pool Safely, we are able to educate the public about many water safety practices to reduce the risks associated with children in and around pools and spas – not just entrapments.

Conclusion: The VGB Act addresses a rare, but serious type of drowning incident and we have implemented the law to address this issue. But the Commission has gone further to raise awareness and promote drowning prevention through a national public education campaign because entrapments are not the leading, nor even a significant cause of drowning. It’s too bad that the Pool Safety Council has not done the same and has only dedicated one sentence on their entire website to prevent the other ninety nine percent of the child drowning cases that were not due to entrapment.

Stay tuned next week for more myth’s!

And check out to learn more simple steps to save lives!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Some More Facts...

Myth #2: “But Congress said all pools should have back-up systems.”

Facts: Actually, the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGB Act) specifically exempted pools and spas equipped with unblockable drains from having back-up systems. Did Congress make a mistake? No, it makes perfect sense not to require back-up systems because as I said yesterday, unblockable drains are the safest, best way to prevent entrapment. Fortunately, there is a new and affordable technology available known as an “unblockable drain cover” that converts a blockable drain into an unblockable drain. Because the Commission found these covers to be equivalent to an “unblockable drain,” people will be able to choose the safest option. If we didn’t, people would be unlikely to install unblockable drain covers in addition to costly back-up systems, and therefore they would not have the safest pools possible.

COMING SOON: Myth #3 - "The VGB Bill focuses on entrapment because that is the leading cause of drowning."

For more information, click here for my statement.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Time for Some Facts

In March, the Commission reached a bi-partisan decision on how to reduce the risk of entrapment in public pool and hot tub drains. However, several articles have recently reported that the Commission’s vote was an "egregious” misinterpretation of the law—implying that safety took a back seat. Today, I am starting a series of blog posts to debunk the myths surrounding our decision regarding the safest, most accurate implementation of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.

Myth #1: The CPSC’s interpretation of “unblockable drain” doesn’t provide the protection required by the law.

Facts: Unblockable drain covers are the only solution that prevents all five types of entrapment. The back-up systems mentioned in the Act only address some of the potential scenarios. For example, some of the back-up systems deal with suction body entrapment and some limb entrapments but would not prevent hair, mechanical, or evisceration entrapments. Of the 11 entrapment drowning deaths from 1999-2009, three were hair entrapments and one was an evisceration, meaning that at least 36% of these deaths would not have been avoided had a back-up system been in place.

Moreover, preventing entrapments in the first place is the best solution to the threat of entrapment drownings. Back-up systems require an entrapment incident to begin to occur before they respond, and even then they may not be able to stop it!

Conclusion: The Commission chose the safest solution that offers the most protection to the public through superior technology and more entrapment prevention.

For more information, click here for my statement.

STAY TUNED: Tomorrow's myth - “But Congress said all pools should have back-up systems.”