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Consumer Product Safety Commission chairwoman stepping down

Kelly Tyko

The acting chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced Tuesday that she is withdrawing her nomination to continue running the federal regulatory agency.

Ann Marie Buerkle, a former Republican congresswoman from New York, said in a statement that she intends to continue as acting chairwoman until Sept. 30 and “to complete the remainder of my term until October 27 and am committed to an orderly transition to keep the agency focused on its critical mission of protecting consumers.”

In the statement, Buerkle called her work with commission "one of the most rewarding periods of my professional career" and said she would "pursue new opportunities that will allow me to continue my life’s work of advocacy and public service as well as spend more time with my six children and eighteen grandchildren."

In recent months the agency has been criticized for how it has handled recent recalls such as the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper.

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The recall of 4.7 million infant sleepers came a week after Fisher-Price and the agency issued a warning about the product and days after Consumer Reports and the American Academy of Pediatrics urged for an immediate recall.

More than 30 babies died in the product.

After the recall was announced April 12, Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., urged Buerkle to work with "Fisher-Price to streamline recall requirements and insist on a full refund for all affected, to ensure these deadly products are removed from homes."

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Buerkle has served as a consumer product safety commissioner since July 2013 and the acting chairwoman since February 2017. President Donald Trump nominated her to the position, but her nomination was not acted on.

In September 2017, former Sen. Bill Nelson blasted Buerkle for not doing more to improve the safety of portable power generators following several carbon monoxide-related deaths in Florida from Hurricane Irma's aftermath.

The commission is charged with protecting the public "from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of types of consumer products.”

"We made significant safety advancements on previously stalled, complex issues including improved standards that require stock window coverings be cordless, portable generators be equipped with low carbon monoxide emission or shutoff technology, and more stringent safety measures to avoid injury and death from tip-over furniture," Buerkle said Tuesday.

Follow Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Consumer Product Safety Commission chairwoman stepping down