Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail a link to a friend
Monday November 25, 2019

CPSC Staffers Seek Early Collaborations on Wearable Products

Early CPSC interaction – during product development, with startups, and as careers begin – was one of the themes at the November 20 staff briefing on wearable products. The goal is to ensure safety via cooperative and helpful collaboration with companies versus reactive conflicts later.


Indeed, CPSC toxicologist Treye Thomas of the Office of Hazard Identification and Reduction promoted this approach when he gently pushed back against the concerns of Acting Chairman Robert Adler and Commissioner Peter Feldman. Both pointed to high attention a decade ago to potential nanotech hazards that have not emerged.


Thomas flipped the implications that the government's attention was less necessary than thought to suggest that the attention might be a reason some hazards did not emerge.


Other topics getting commissioners' attention included:

  • Jurisdiction: CPSC and other agencies are communicating. This includes carving out who gets what. An example of such questions arose in a discussion between Thomas and Commissioner Dana Baiocco, who wondered if chemical exposure might be better, for example, under FDA. Although drug delivery devices would be, Thomas said an example of non-medical exposure might be via products that change colors through chemical reactions.

  • Resources: In response to questions from Commissioner Elliot Kaye, Assistant Executive Director Duane Boniface said hurdles to expanded or additional agency attention likely have more to do with staffing levels than money.

  • Chronic Hazards: Thomas told Adler that for now such concerns are not getting as much attention as are acute hazards. However, Thomas suggested that current activity would inform later work on chronic hazards, and he noted that the more time products spend in or on bodies, the more attention should be given to long-term risks.

The first half of the hearing ( involved descriptions of how staffers are parsing types of wearables and possible hazards. Notably, their unofficial, working definition includes not just electrical but also magnetic, mechanical and chemical applications. Similarly, it includes not just wearing but also concepts like body insertion or application.