Pa. Sen. Santorum Commends Steps to Improve Safety Standards, Reduce Injuries with Cigarette Lighters

April 21, 2005

U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, recently commended the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for their unanimous vote to move forward with the first of three steps in developing a new mandatory safety standard for imported and domestically manufactured cigarette lighters.

“A simple malfunction of a cigarette lighter can cause a life-threatening injury or in some cases, even death,” Santorum said. “I am pleased that the Consumer Product Safety Commission is taking steps to help prevent mechanical malfunctions and decrease fire hazards that can be attributed to some cigarette lighters.”

The CPSC vote approved an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, enabling the Commission to consider a way to prevent mechanical malfunctions of lighters and reduce the fire hazard associated with some lighters. The petition being considered by the CPSC would establish a mandatory standard for all lighters sold in the U.S.

U.S. manufacturers of lighters, including Zippo, voluntarily comply with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) F-400 voluntary standard. This safety standard ensures that lighters meet a range of safety tests such as flame height, proper extinguishing, and exposure to hot and cold temperatures.

However, foreign manufacturers of lighters that export to the United States are not required to conform to this voluntary safety standard. The ability of foreign manufacturers to sell non-complying lighters into the U.S. reportedly increases the likelihood that U.S. consumers will be harmed by lighters that are held to a lower safety standard.

Zippo Manufacturing Company which manufactures cigarette lighters, and employs 750 people in Bradford, Pennsylvania, is reportedly committed to producing a high safe-quality product. With Zippo in mind, Santorum wrote a letter to the CPSC in support of adopting mandatory safety standards for cigarette lighters.

“With nearly one billion cigarette lighters sold annually across the country, injuries caused by lighters can be curbed with mandatory safety regulations,” Santorum said. “These regulations will enable Zippo to stay competitive with foreign manufacturers of lighters, while protecting the jobs of the 750 employees working at the Bradford plant.”

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