Upsetting the Confidentiality Balance?: CPSC Proposes Revisions to Its Section 6 (b) Information Disclosure Regime

Sometimes agency practice becomes so entrenched that taking a fresh look in view of new realities is in order. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) instructed its staff to modernize the Commission’s information disclosure rule that flows from section 6(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA). The thirty-year-old rule did not address certain modern practical realities. The rule revisions recognize the harm that can flow from an inaccurate or unfair statement by the Commission about a product. No other federal safety agency has this type of provision protecting manufacturers. Yet, several aspects of the proposed rule would significantly alter the balance between the interest of consumers and the need for fairness and accuracy with respect to information disclosure. The CPSC needs to provide greater transparency and clarity about what the new rules will and will not permit the agency to do going forward.

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