Sometimes it takes government agencies an extraordinarily long time to act on legal mandates. There are a number of reasons why this situation is simply reality, but these reasons do not always make agency-related delays less frustrating. After all, many Congressional mandates are constructed because a public health and safety risk exists which needs to be addressed. Whether this safety risk is quiet cars which pose an accident risk for pedestrians or a lack of patient safety reporting among hospitals, such mandates often serve urgent purposes. Delays in addressing these purposes can cause devastating consequences.
Consider the products liability issue that Congress addressed in section 108 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. More than five years ago, Congress insisted that the Consumer Product Safety Commission convene a Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel in order to study the impacts that phthalates and phthalate alternatives have on children when they are used in children’s products. A panel was convened, but the process took so long that the CPSC is only now beginning to review the panel’s report and recommendations.