New regs for Monday: Extension cords, air conditioners, labels and streams

Monday’s edition of the Federal Register contains a final rule from the Consumer Product Safety Commission for extension cords, more time for the public to comment on the Department of Energy’s proposal to regulate air conditioners, Food And Drug Administration revisions to food labels and rules from the Department of Interior to protect streams from coal mining.

Here’s what to look for:

Extension cords: The Consumer Product Safety Commission is finalizing a rule for indoor and outdoor extension cords.


The rule would force all power cords to meet certain requirements for minimum wire size, sufficient strain relief, proper polarization and proper continuity. If a product fails to meet one of those requirements it will be deemed a substantial product hazard.

Because products that are deemed a substantial hazard are subject to corrective action, the rule-making said the commission can order a manufacturer, importer, distributor or retailer to repair, replace or refund the price of an extension cord that does not meet the safety specifications.  

The rule will take effect in 30 days.

Air conditioners: The Department of Energy is extending the public comment period for its proposal to set energy conservation standards for room air conditioners.

The agency originally asked all comments to be submitted by Aug. 3. The public now has until Sept. 2. The Energy Department has asked for the public to help it determine whether amending the standards for room AC units would result in significant energy savings and whether those standards would be technologically feasible and economically justified.

Labels: The Food and Drug Administrations is considering revising its regulations for Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts labels on conventional foods and dietary supplements.

The agency is proposing to establish a daily reference value for added sugars. Following a recommendation from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, the FDA said Americans should limit their added sugar intake to less than 10 percent of total calories. The agency is also considering shortening the footnote that explains what the percentage daily value for added sugars means.

The public has 75 days to comment.

Streams: The Department of Interior is considering a rule that aims to protect streams, fish and other wildlife from the adverse impacts of surface coal mining operations and provide mine operators with a regulatory framework to avoid water pollution.

The rule would require mining permits to specify the point at which the groundwater and surface water will be negatively impacted by coal mining.

The rule would set standards to minimize mining through perennial and intermittent streams and force permitted miners to restore both the hydrological form and the ecological function of the mined-through stream segment.

The public has 60 days to comment.