In 2009, Inez M. Tenenbaum took over the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an agency in turmoil and uncertain of its mission to ensure that tens of thousands of products did not present a danger to buyers. Ending her four year term on November 30th, she has led a significant increase in the agency’s powers.
One of the smallest agencies in the government, the Consumer Product Safety Commission operates on a budget of about $120 million, employs 530 people and annually monitors more than 15,000 imported and domestically made products. During Tenebaum’s term, the CPSC was asked to place rules and regulations involving products from baby cribs to backyard grills. New regulations were created to place limits on lead in children’s products, a public database to catalog product safety complaints and mandatory standards were put in place for children’s bed rails, cribs and swings. This new law gave the agency the ability to potentially increase civil penalties to $15 million from less than $2 million.