Consumer groups reportedly withdrew from a September 1, 2011, meeting with the Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA), citing industry’s alleged failure “to eliminate the strangulation hazard posed by corded window coverings.” Representatives from the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), Consumers Union, Independent Safety Consulting, and Parents for Window Blind Safety have accused WCMA of rejecting their recommendations after a year-long review process and committing to a flawed standard. In particular, the groups charged that “innovative technological solutions” were not adequately incorporated into the draft recommendations, which would evidently still permit long operational cords and “cord joiners” without requiring manufacturers to supply anchors.
“Furthermore, this revision process has not been transparent,” opined CFA in a joint September 1 press release. “Research commissioned by the WCMA for the purpose of drafting this standard and other information has not been shared with us… The current draft of the standard, which is anticipated to be final this October, has failed to eliminate strangulation risks posed by accessible cords.”
WCMA, however, has reiterated its commitment to working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and other interested parties to minimize potential risk. “To our great disappointment, at today’s WCMA Standards Steering Committee Meeting some of those consumer safety advocates abandoned the review process,” stated the association’s press release. “WCMA and its member companies remain committed to working with CPSC and others who share in our goal to update the safety standards. Already, great progress has been made.”
Meanwhile, CPSC Chair Inez Tenenbaum told reporters she was “greatly” troubled that “the revisions to the standards for roll-up blinds, Roman shades and other window coverings may fall far short of what I expected.” Other staff members also apparently expressed concern that industry appeared reluctant to adopt a new device designed to hide or eradicate cords altogether. The commission has set a two-month deadline for WCMA to produce a standard that would “eliminate the risk of strangulation to young children.” See The New York Times, September 1, 2011; BNA Product Safety & Liability Reporter, September 6, 2011.