Date: 7 July 2005
Their announcement is the latest in a series of steps taken by AFSG and Senator Walker to advance the use of safe glazing products in lieu of wired glass in schools, athletic facilities, and public buildings where it has caused serious injuries. As a result of their efforts, the states of Oregon and Washington have changed their building codes to eliminate the use of wired glass in new construction. AFSG was also successful in changing the 2006 International Building Code (IBC), to ban the use of wired glass that doesn't meet the CPSC standard. As Abel, Chair of AFSG, explained, "We were pleased the ICC agreed the model building code needed to be changed, but the adoption of the IBC by state and local governments can take years, unless states take emergency rulemaking actions, as the state of Washington recently did. The CPSC, on the other hand, is able to take immediate action to stop the use of this product in every state."
"We are left with no choice but to force the CPSC into court to explain why it has not done what Congress charged it to do--protecting the American public from dangerous consumer products," said Walker and Abel. "This is not something the CPSC has the discretion to avoid," said Walker.
Abel emphasized that had the CPSC done its job years ago, as mandated by Congress, it would have saved his own son from being injured in 2001. Abel formed the nonprofit organization, Advocates for Safe Glass, Inc., shortly after his son, Jarred, was injured when his hand impacted wired glass in a fire door at the University of Oregon.
"Mr. Abel and I have gone to CPSC and provided injury studies based on its own injury data, showing that over 2,000 school children are injured a year as a result of the misuse of this product," said Walker. As the court has previously recognized, "There is no requirement in the CPSA [Consumer Product Safety Act of 1972] that before promulgating a safety rule the commission develop a precise body count of actual injuries' caused or likely to be caused by a product under consideration." [Forester v. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 182 U.S. App. D.C. 153, 559 F.2d 774, 788 (D.C. Cir 1977)].
Abel noted that several state court actions are now pending across the country brought by individuals injured by wired glass.