Need to Know

NWRA Urges Senate Committee to Conduct Oversight of CPSC on Issue of Mobile Phones

Arlington, VA – The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) sent a letter to the leadership and members of the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security requesting they exercise their oversight authority over the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) as it pertains to the commission’s regulation of mobile phones. This follows NWRA’s meeting last week with the CPSC Chairman and his staff where the association asked the CPSC to take action on mobile phones, which are a leading cause of distracted driving resulting in traffic accidents.

“We believe mobile phones are an inherently addictive consumer product that causes distracted drivers to injure and kill our waste and recycling workers as they go about their jobs,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith. “We strongly urge the Senate subcommittee to exercise its authority to ensure that the CPSC is fulfilling its responsibilities appropriately.”

A January 4, 2018 article in Psychology Today titled “Technology Designed for Addiction” gets to the heart of the problem. The addictive nature of mobile phones is not a design flaw but rather a key element of the product’s design.

NWRA has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the CPSC seeking all correspondence between the CPSC and Apple, Samsung, Google, Microsoft, and any other mobile phone manufacturers or operating system software providers regarding their products as well as any ancillary documents and records pertaining to the dangers that mobile phones present to waste and recycling workers.

In addition, NWRA is seeking all correspondence between the CPSC and other federal agencies on the hazards that mobile phones create on our nation’s roads. The FOIA covers the period starting June 29, 2007, when the first iPhone went on sale through the date of the FOIA request.

In the past, there has been a game of agency ping-pong when it comes to the issue of mobile phones and the dangers that they present to drivers on our nation’s roads and highways. Before reversing course, CPSC initially refused to meet with NWRA, inferring that the agency did not have jurisdiction over mobile phones and suggested NWRA take up the issue with agencies within the federal Department of Transportation (USDOT). At that point, NWRA contacted NHTSA, which in expected fashion passed the buck to the states in their response.

As a result of this, NWRA calls upon the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security to ensure that the CPSC fulfills its mission.

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ABOUT NWRA

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 various other service providers. For more information about NWRA, please visit www.wasterecycling.org.

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