Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Federal Agency to Regulate Christmas Lights

On a hot day in Washington, D.C., a federal agency issued 11 pages of new regulations on Christmas lights and other holiday decorations, calling certain products “a substantial product hazard.”

“The Consumer Product Safety Commission … is issuing a final rule to specify that seasonal and decorative lighting products that do not contain any one of three readily observable characteristics (minimum wire size, sufficient strain relief or overcurrent protection), as addressed in a voluntary standard, are deemed a substantial product hazard under the Consumer Product Safety Act,” the Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Monday in its new rule.

A voluntary standard, which created safety guidelines for companies that manufacture Christmas lights, was created by Underwriters Laboratories in the 1990s. Underwriters Laboratories is a non-governmental party that provides safety-related guidance to a wide range of industries.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has now taken those standards and imposed them as official, enforceable regulations.

Products found in violation of any of the imposed safety characteristics can now be stopped at ports or otherwise prevented from distribution without testing.

If Christmas lights are not made in accordance with these standards, the agency said consumers can be “seriously injured or killed by electrical shocks or fires.”

In its justification, the Consumer Product Safety Commission cited 258 deaths that have occurred as a result of dangerous holiday lights since 1980.

The vast majority of those deaths occurred before 1994, prior to when Underwriters Laboratories issued its voluntary standard for the industry.

Since the voluntary standard was put into place, that number has sharply declined.

In 2014, no deaths were attributed to being caused by Christmas lights. In 2015, the agency cited one death caused by holiday decorations.

Critics argued the rule “represents government waste, government overreach, or would result in a ‘waste of money,’” but the commission disagreed, citing its mission to protect consumers from “unreasonable” risks of injury or death.

Diane Katz, a research fellow in regulatory policy at The Heritage Foundation, disagrees.  “This is regulating for the convenience and power of regulators—not for public safety.”

The rule takes effect on June 3.



Anonymous said...

Government bureaucrats are usually unreasonable and they are not themselves subject to any regulations in their activities.

Anonymous said...

Of course the commission disagrees. Their mission is to protect their jobs, increase their budget and become an immortal part of the "for the good of the people" government apparatus. That is until the whole mess collapses and takes the whole nation with it. Good job bureaucrats. Give yourselves an award and a bonus, on us.

Use the Name, Luke said...

"… until the whole mess collapses and takes the whole nation with it."

Are you sure that's an unintentional side effect?

Anonymous said...


Oh, if I implied it is unintentional I certainly didn't intend to. I think it is quite intentional. Of course the minions carrying out the plan either figure they'll be amongst the chosen or, more likely, are just too stupid to know what's going on.

Btw, when the apocalypse comes "I was just doing my job" isn't going to cut it.

slinky said...

The only people hurt by this are the Chinese. That's where all the lights come from. Screw those commies.

Bird of Paradise said...

The CPSC is just anothher goverment buracracy that need to be abolished

Anonymous said...

By the same standards why are people allowed to drive cars, ride motorcycles or even bicycles let alone horses and many other forms of transport. The majority of deaths occurring between 1980 and 1994 would indicate that Christmas lights are one of the least lethal forms of death and perhaps the victims deserved a Darwin Award for removing themselves from the gene pool. Obviously the CPSC has no other worthwhile activity to attend to and should be disbanded in line with budget savings.