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Industry lobbies for CPSC reversal

By Rebecca Robledo

Industry representatives are trying to persuade the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to reverse a recent decision involving the federal pool and spa safety law.

In September, CPSC narrowed the definition of an unblockable drain in the VGB Act. Previously, a drain was considered unblockable as long as the cover met certain measurements and flow requirements. The latest decision restricted the meaning further, stating that the sump also must meet dimensional criteria.

Because of the recent ruling, drains that have fallen out of the unblockable category (those with sumps measuring 18-by-23-inches or smaller) now are considered single blockable outlets, and must be split or receive backups. CPSC said these retrofits must occur by May 28, 2012, but allowed a comment period to receive input on the deadline.

In response, the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals issued an alert asking its members to write letters to CPSC, as well as to the congressional subcommittee overseeing the agency and individual legislators who sponsored VGB as a bill.

Additionally, drain cover producer Worldwide Sports hired a lobbyist to submit a letter on its behalf as well as other interested parties. The letter went to Gib Mullan, chief counsel of the House Subcommittee overseeing the CPSC.

“Hopefully, they’ll get enough safety-based information to either do an oversight hearing or send another letter to the commission,” said Walt Sanders, vice president of law and government affairs at Alexandria, Va.-based Van Fleet Associates, who wrote the letter.

The letter suggested the CPSC ruling was vulnerable to having an injunction placed against it because no public comment period was allowed. It went on to cite a case where a similar CPSC decision was reversed in court.

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