November 2, 2001
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Ann Brown Resigns
- Ann Brown resigned today as Chairman and Commissioner of the U.S.
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) after 7 1/2 years at the helm of
The longest-serving Chairman in CPSC's history, Brown was appointed by
President Clinton and confirmed by the Senate in 1994. She was reappointed
and confirmed to a second 7-year term in 1999. Brown's goal as Chairman was
to keep families safe, and she made the safety of children a top personal
Brown has announced plans to set up a nonprofit organization named SAFE --
Safer America for Everyone, to promote consumer health and safety. SAFE,
which she will officially launch on November 3, will have headquarters in
Washington, D.C. The organization will have a website, www.saferam.org.
Brown plans to speak out on safety in television appearances, speeches,
magazine articles and other media opportunities. Her first article, "How to
Buy Safe Toys," will appear in Parade Magazine on November 4, and she will
be a regular contributor to NBC's TODAY show.
During Brown's tenure as CPSC Chairman, the agency's funding increased by
over 25 percent. Civil penalty amounts increased 2,500 percent. CPSC
announced, on average, more than 300 product recalls each year.
Brown increased publicity for CPSC recalls through her frequent appearances
on national morning news programs.
CPSC passed several important safety regulations during her time at the
agency, including standards for cigarette lighters, bunk beds, bicycle
helmets, fireworks, dive sticks and improved child-resistant packaging.
Brown always emphasized her interest in pursuing voluntary cooperation with
industry. Under her leadership, the agency agreed to five times as many
voluntary standards as mandatory, including voluntary standards for baby
walkers, high chairs, crib slats, strollers, play yards, halogen lamps and
mobile soccer goals.
Brown also secured a cooperative agreement with the children's clothing
industry to remove drawstrings from the necks of children's outergarments (a
strangling hazard). She worked with retailers of baby cribs to secure their
agreement to voluntarily change their crib displays and advertisements, so
that they showed safe sleep environments with no soft bedding in the crib.
Ann Brown initiated the Chairman's Commendation for Substantial
Contributions to Product Safety to recognize outstanding safety initiatives.
She conferred the award on 21 recipients, including a number of leading
manufacturers and retailers -- Procter & Gamble, Whirlpool, Toys R Us,
Hasbro, Lowe's, McDonald's, Williams-Sonoma and Gerber Products -- as well
as the nonprofit organizations, National Safe Kids Campaign and KaBOOM!
She conducted a number of safety partnerships with companies, including the
Baby Safety Shower campaign with Gerber Products Company and The Safe
Nursery with Babies R Us and Pampers Parenting Institute.
Brown also launched the Product Safety Circle initiative, in which nearly 50
consumer product companies committed to implement 10 safety principles. The
PSC became an incubator for new safety technologies and innovative safety
Under Brown's leadership, CPSC won an Innovations in American Government
award in 1998 for the Fast-Track Product Recall Program. The award program,
funded by the Ford Foundation, was administered by Harvard's Kennedy School
of Government, in cooperation with the Council for Excellence in Government.
The agency, which received a $100,000 award, was one of 10 winners from
among 1,400 national, state and local government applicants. CPSC was also
awarded five of Vice President Gore's Hammer Awards for reinvention of the
Brown's achievements were recognized with a number of awards, including the
American Academy of Pediatrics Excellence in Public Service Award, the
Philip Hart Public Service Award (CFA), the Champion of Safe Kids Award (NSKC),
the Government Communicator of the Year Award, and a Smith College Honorary
Doctor of Laws degree.