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Import and Other Restrictions Proposed for Extension Cords

Tuesday, February 03, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is proposing a rule to specify that extension cords (both indoor and outdoor use cords) that do not contain one or more of the following readily observable characteristics constitute a substantial product hazard under the Consumer Product Safety Act.

- minimum wire size

- sufficient strain relief

- proper polarity

- proper continuity

- outlet covers (for certain two-wire indoor extension cords)

- jacketed insulation cord (for outdoor extension cords)

The CPSC has preliminarily determined that these are all readily observable characteristics of extension cords and addressed by a voluntary standard (UL 817), that extension cords sold in the U.S. substantially comply with this standard, and that conformance with this standard has been effective in reducing the risk of injury from shock and fire associated with these cords.

The CPSC intends to include within the scope of the proposed rule indoor and outdoor general-use extension cords that can be used with many different types of electrical appliances. Excluded are detachable power supply and appliance cords with non-NEMA fittings and adaptor cords supplied with outdoor tools and yard equipment.

If this rule is finalized: (1) the subject extension cords would be subject to the reporting requirements of 15 USC 2064(b); (2) the CPSC could order importers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers of violative cords to offer to repair or replace the cord or refund the purchase price to the consumer; and (3) violative cords would be refused admission into the U.S. and subject to U.S. Customs and Border Protection seizure and forfeiture.

Written comments on this proposed rule are due no later than April 21.

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