Senator Mark Pryor, along with Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Bill Nelson (D-FL), today sent a letter to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) asking the agency to ensure public pools are in full compliance with safety standards established by a 2007 law intended to prevent children from being trapped in drains and drowning. The Senators expressed particular concern about a loophole created by the CPSC to allow certain pool operators to sidestep the law's strict safety requirements. The text of the letter is below:
The Honorable Inez Tenenbaum, Chairman
The Honorable Thomas Moore, Commissioner
The Honorable Robert Adler, Commissioner
The Honorable Nancy Nord, Commissioner
The Honorable Ann Northup, Commissioner
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
4330 East West Highway
Bethesda, MD 20814
We write to express concern about the Consumer Product Safety Commission's ("the Commission's") interpretation of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act ("the Act") and, in particular, the Commission's recent decision regarding single main drain pools.
The language of the Act makes clear that pools with only one drain are to be treated differently than pools with multiple drains. Under the Act, a single drain public pool must incorporate both an anti-entrapment drain cover and another layer of protection, such as a suction release system. The reason for the extra layer of protection in single drain pools is simple: these pools pose more of a danger to children than pools with multiple drains because when blocked, the force of the suction in single drain pools is stronger.
Notwithstanding the dangers inherent in single drain pools, the Commission recently voted to allow single drain pools to avoid the statutory requirement for extra layers of protection if the single drain was covered with an unblockable anti-entrapment drain cover. This decision runs counter to both the spirit and letter of the Act and fails to take into account the nature of entrapment-related accidents and deaths. In single drain pools, no drain cover -- no matter how large or unblockable -- can protect a child from entrapment if the drain cover is improperly installed or inadvertently removed. It is for this reason that Congress required extra layers of protection for public pools with only a single main drain and why we think the Commission's current decision runs counter to that goal.
We urge you to reconsider this decision. Thank you for your consideration.