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Inez Moore Tenenbaum
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Inez Moore Tenenbaum was nominated by President Barack Obama on June 9, 2009 to serve as the ninth Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Ms. Tenenbaum was confirmed by the Senate on June 19, 2009 and sworn into office on June 23, 2009 to a term that expired on November 30, 2013.

Chairman Tenenbaum transformed CPSC into one of the leading product safety agencies in the world. Starting in July 2009, Chairman Tenenbaum established a leadership philosophy aimed at making the agency more accessible and transparent; making education and advocacy a priority; and being firm, but fair, in enforcing safety laws and working to keep unsafe products out of the hands of consumers. In October 2010, Chairman Tenenbaum announced a new five-year Strategic Plan (2011-2016), which set forth a twenty-first century mission and vision for CPSC. The Strategic Plan has made CPSC more proactive, more focused on injury prevention, and moved the agency closer to being the recognized global leader in consumer product safety.

To achieve her regulatory philosophy and vision for the Strategic Plan, Chairman Tenenbaum reestablished public Commission meetings to shine a light on the agency’s decision making processes; launched, home to the publicly accessible consumer product safety incident database; and launched CPSC 2.0, the agency’s social media initiative. The Chairman also created a new Office of Education, Global Outreach, and Small Business Ombudsman; a Safe Sleep for Babies team; and a Minority Outreach team. Additionally, Chairman Tenenbaum expanded CPSC’s marketplace surveillance program, revamped and increased the staffing level of the Office of Import Surveillance, and strengthened the partnership with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, in order to detect and detain a greater number of potentially dangerous products before they reach consumers.

Former Chairman Tenenbaum travelled across the United States and to China, Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Canada, Belgium, Australia, Brazil, and Mexico, to meet with regulators and take safety to the source of domestically and foreign made consumer products. In 2009 and 2011, She participated in Bilateral U.S.-China Safety Summits in Beijing and Washington, D.C., respectively, with her counterpart at the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ). The CPSC-AQSIQ Summits have advanced the Chairman’s goal of encouraging Chinese manufacturers to use best manufacturing practices, adhere to U.S. safety standards, and build safety into product designs.

Tenenbaum fulfilled a key promise to the Congress and consumers by working closely with agency staff to complete all of the major safety rules required by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), a law that reformed and empowered CPSC. In implementing the CPSIA, Tenenbaum advocated for and the Commission supported:

•the establishment of the strongest crib safety standards in the world;
•the lowest lead limits for children’s products in the world;
•limits on the use of certain phthalates in toys and child care articles;
•mandatory standards for toys, toxic metals, and juvenile products; and
•continuous testing of children’s products by independent, third-party laboratories.

The former Chairman also served as the lead spokesperson for the largest media and education campaign in the agency’s history related to pool drowning and drain entrapment prevention.

During her tenure, Tenenbaum appeared on The TODAY Show, CBS Early Show, Good Morning America, CNN, Bloomberg TV, CNBC Asia, and C-Span; in the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, Associated Press, and Reuters; and on network radio stations to inform the public about product recalls, seasonal safety warnings, and emerging hazards.

Additionally, Tenenbaum testified before several Congressional committees and spoken to the European Parliament regarding consumer protection and product safety issues.

The leadership of the former Chairman was vital in the ongoing efforts to prevent deaths and injuries from window coverings, youth sports, button batteries, high powered magnets, recreational off-highway vehicles, gel fuels, and table saws.

* * *

Ms. Tenenbaum was elected South Carolina's State Superintendent of Education in 1998 and completed her second term in 2007. Throughout her career, Ms. Tenenbaum has been an energetic and determined advocate for children and families and has extensive experience in administrative and regulatory matters.

During her tenure as South Carolina's State Superintendent of Education, student achievement in South Carolina improved at the fastest rate in the nation, with scores increasing on every state, national, and international tests administered. At the end of Ms. Tenenbaum's tenure, the prestigious journal Education Week ranked South Carolina number one in the country for the quality of its academic standards, assessment, and accountability systems.

She previously practiced health, environmental, and public interest law with the firm Sinkler & Boyd, P.A. Before attending law school, Ms. Tenenbaum served as the director of research for the Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee of the South Carolina House of Representatives. She carried out the Committee's responsibilities for all legislation relating to public health, the environment, child welfare, social services, adult and juvenile corrections, state military affairs, and local government.

Ms. Tenenbaum served as special counsel to the McNair Law Firm in the area of public school finance prior to being nominated by the President.

She has also served on numerous task forces that provide oversight on children and family services in the state.

Ms. Tenenbaum received her Bachelor of Science in 1972 and Master of Education degrees in 1974 from the University of Georgia and her law degree in 1986 from the University of South Carolina. She is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and has been recognized by several state and community organizations for her civic work on behalf of children and families.

Ms. Tenenbaum is married to Samuel J. Tenenbaum.

Entries by Inez Moore Tenenbaum

Saying Goodbye to CPSC With the Wind in Its Sails, Set On The Right Course

(1) Comments | Posted December 3, 2013 | 6:10 PM

"I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold service was joy." - Indian author Rabindranath Tagore

It has been a joy to serve as the Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission during the past four and...

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The Law That Put Consumers First at the CPSC

(8) Comments | Posted August 13, 2013 | 4:19 PM

In 2008, the OrganicMania blog had a post that reflected the feelings of so many moms at the time: "...those cheap toys always give me pause. So many of them have been linked to recalls and lead paint. So I decided against purchasing one..." Lynn Miller, a mom,...

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Five Big Wins for Consumers, A Loss for Advocates of Delay and Distortion

(2) Comments | Posted August 1, 2011 | 7:00 PM

Five great steps forward in consumer safety have been taken by your United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in the past month:

  • On July 1, the CPSC voted unanimously to approve a new federal safety rule prohibiting drawstrings in children's upper outerwear.
  • On July 15, the CPSC...
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Pool Safely: A Call To Action This Memorial Day Weekend

(2) Comments | Posted May 26, 2011 | 3:49 PM

Memorial Day weekend is a time of family get-togethers, barbecues and the traditional start of the summer swimming season. Hundreds of thousands of children will flock to community and backyard swimming pools to cool off and splash around. Unfortunately, it has already been a tragic start to the year for...

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Keeping a Strong Safety Net in Place for Children

(3) Comments | Posted April 7, 2011 | 12:06 PM

By Inez Tenenbaum, Robert Adler and Thomas Moore

As the majority of Commissioners of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), we write to express our serious concerns with significant portions of the discussion draft circulated by the staff of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing...

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A Sneak Preview of CPSC's Publically Available Consumer Product Safety Information Database

(0) Comments | Posted February 7, 2011 | 3:58 PM

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is the leading federal agency charged with ensuring the safety of consumer products. We protect families like yours, from risks of injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products, including items that many of you use every day, such...

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Indoors or Out, Keep Pool Safety in Mind

(0) Comments | Posted September 27, 2010 | 10:47 AM

While the summer swimming season is behind us, many communities across the country still have their doors open to those looking to cool off in water parks and hotel, motel and public pools. Now is not the time to let our guard down.

Our Pool Safely education campaign is...

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A Teachable Moment: Take Simple Steps Now to Prevent Child Drownings

(0) Comments | Posted August 4, 2010 | 12:45 PM

While summer should be a time of fun and relaxation, it has sadly brought tragedy to far too many families. Within the past three weeks, two sets of twin girls drowned in residential swimming pools in the Boston area.

This week, six teenagers drowned in the Red...

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Safe Sleep Starts With a Safe Crib

(1) Comments | Posted June 23, 2010 | 3:31 PM

Your baby's crib. It should be, it must be, the safest product in your family's home. For millions of parents, precious dollars are invested in a new crib as the centerpiece of the nursery. Parents expect their crib to be free of hazards and for their baby to sleep safely...

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385 Dead, 4,200 Injured. From What? Pools and Spas.

(2) Comments | Posted May 24, 2010 | 11:14 AM

The splash starts Memorial Day weekend, when pool season kicks into high gear.

Pools and spas are great sources of family fun and relaxation. They are also sources of too many preventable family tragedies.

From 2005 through 2007, an average of 385 children younger than age 15...

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Keeping Our Children Safe this Holiday Season

(1) Comments | Posted November 20, 2009 | 12:20 PM

It's that time of year again. The holidays are fast approaching, and families across America are starting their shopping.

As any parent or grandparent knows, there are few greater rewards than seeing the smile spread across a child's face as they open the perfect present. But we also know...

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