The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) held the grand opening Monday for its new state-of-the-art scientific testing facility in Rockville, MD.
“Today’s opening marks a new day in consumer safety,” said CPSC Chairman Inez M. Tenenbaum. “This center will enhance CPSC’s ability to protect families and consumers from harm by expanding CPSC’s testing capabilities, increasing the efficiency of agency staff and equipment, and allowing more testing to be done faster.”
Special guests at today’s ribbon cutting ceremony included a representative for Sen. Richard Durbin (IL), who worked to secure funding for the new center; Rep. Chris Van Hollen (MD), in whose district the new testing facility resides; and Phyllis Marcuccio, mayor of Rockville.
“The opening of this new lab will make consumers safer and the CPSC stronger,” Sen. Durbin said. “This state-of-the-art testing facility marks the next step in our efforts to rebuild CPSC into our premier watchdog agency. America’s families can sleep better at night knowing that the consumer-safety cops are on the beat and in the lab.”
“We are here today to salute the hardworking men and women of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, rededicate ourselves to the CPSC’s mission, and celebrate the grand opening of this state-of-the-art facility,” said Rep. Van Hollen. “Americans have a right to expect that the toys and products made available for sale in the United States are safe, and this modernized National Product Testing and Evaluation Center – along with the funding necessary to operate it – will go a long way towards making that expectation a reality.”
Seventy-five agency scientists and engineers will now work together at CPSC’s new National Product Testing and Evaluation Center. Previously, they worked at the agency’s headquarters in Bethesda, MD and in nine buildings at the former laboratory site in Gaithersburg, MD. The new Rockville center is a renovated, modern, scientific testing facility, while the former site in Gaithersburg was originally a military missile facility that CPSC first occupied in 1975.
CPSC secured the site for the new center in 2009. The new center has 63,000 square feet of office and lab space. Lab space has increased nearly 250 percent – from just 13,000 square feet at the former lab to 32,000 square feet in the new center. New equipment, such as an ATV tilt table that will measure ATV road stability, and test chambers to conduct mattress flammability testing and carbon monoxide alarm testing, expands CPSC’s in-house testing capabilities.
Special “green” efforts were made, including diverting more than 50 percent of the construction waste away from landfills, adding efficient plumbing to reduce potable water use by 35 percent and using 95 percent of recycled wood cabinetry from the existing lab. The agency saved millions of dollars in construction and future operations costs by upgrading the previous tenant’s HVAC system.
The National Product Testing and Evaluation Center is located at 5 Research Place in Rockville, MD.