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Brooks Schuelke
Brooks Schuelke
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Potential Bad News For Victims of Defective Products

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The Washington Post is reporting that the Bush Administration is considering the nomination of Gail Charnley to head the Consumer Product Safety Commission. This would not be welcome news to personal injury victims. Dr. Charnley runs her own consulting firm and has frequently testified and written on behalf of the tobacco, energy and pesticide industries. In 2006, she wrote an op-ed article opposing tougher restrictions on power-plant emissions, and in 2004, she and a colleague wrote a letter to a technical journal about a study on human testing of pesticides that they had co-authored without disclosing the minor fact that the study had been partly funded by pesticide makers. The nomination was nicely summed up in the article:

“She’s not thought of as a consumer advocate per se but as someone hired by industry to represent their point of view,” said Lynn Goldman, a former assistant administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency under President Bill Clinton, who has testified at hearings with Charnley.

The potential nomination does follow in the Administration’s footsteps of putting consumers last. The acting chairperson is Nancy Nord. Ms. Nord was formerly an official with the US Chamber of Commerce, one of the leaders in the fight for more tort-reform. The Administration’s last nominee was Michael Baroody, a lobbyist for the National Association of Manufacturers. Mr. Baroody withdrew his name for consideration after the extreme backlash from consumer groups.