CPSC Refuses Meeting with Industry to Discuss How Cellphones are Killing our Workers

CPSC Refuses Meeting with Industry to Discuss How Cellphones are Killing our Workers

Arlington, VA – The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) has been denied a meeting with Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Chairman Robert Adler to discuss the ongoing safety issue the waste and recycling industry faces from mobile phones being used by consumers while driving. The CPSC refused to meet, inferring that the agency does not have jurisdiction over mobile phones, and suggested NWRA take up the issue with agencies within the federal Department of Transportation (DOT).

In response to NWRA’s request for a meeting, CPSC replied:

“Thank you for reaching out to Acting Chairman Bob Adler’s office. Distracted driving is clearly a pervasive issue that deserves immediate attention—especially from the government agencies equipped to address these concerns. Since the CPSC does not have jurisdiction over this safety issue (and, regrettably, nor the budget), your best resources are DOT and NHTSA [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration], as well as any advocacy or consumer groups dedicated to the issue.

“In the meantime, we thank you again for your concerns and your work on this devastating problem.”

NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith stated, “During my 20 some years in public policy, I have never been refused a meeting with a government agency. We are profoundly disappointed the CPSC is refusing to meet with us. Instead of honoring its mission, CPSC has claimed no responsibility, no money and initiated a game of agency ping-pong.

“Cell phones are an inherently addictive consumer product resulting in injuries and fatalities that are killing our people. I am disappointed that the agency responsible for consumer products has refused a meeting with our industry regarding a product squarely within their jurisdiction.”

CPSC specifically delineates which industries and types of products are outside of its jurisdiction on its website. There is nothing to indicate that mobile phones are beyond its purview and, in an effort to avoid studying the product, CPSC is employing a rationale to lay blame on the users rather than the product. This approach is in stark contrast to CPSC’s letter to NWRA requesting “the ANSI Z245.30 Subcommittee on Container Safety form a task group to strengthen the warning requirements to reduce the potential for consumers to push the cart with the lid open and step on the lid, and sustain serious injuries.” On average, less than two people per year are injured on account of them improperly attempting to move a cart while the lid is open.

Far more people are injured by cell phone use while driving both in our industry and in the country at-large.

UPDATE: One day following this press release, CPSC reached out to NWRA to schedule a meeting.


The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) represents the private sector waste and recycling services industry. Association members conduct business in all 50 states and include companies that manage waste, recycling and medical waste, equipment manufacturers and distributors, and a variety of other service providers. For more information about NWRA, please visit www.wasterecycling.org.

Brandon Wright
National Waste and Recycling Association