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FOIA Exemptions

FOIA Exemptions

The FOIA, 5 U.S.C. 552(b), contains specific Exemptions that the Commission staff considers in processing records responsive to an FOI Request.   CPSC may deny a request for records if the requested records or a part of the records contain information that falls into one or more of the nine Exemption categories listed below.  If the requested record contains both exempt and nonexempt information, the nonexempt portions that may reasonably be segregated from the exempt portions will be released to the requester.

FOIA Exemption 1
Records that are, by an Executive Order, classified to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy.

FOIA Exemption 2
Records related solely to the CPSC's personnel rules and practices.

FOIA Exemption 3
Records specifically exempted from disclosure by another statute, such as the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) (see below).

FOIA Exemption 4
Trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person, which includes corporations and associations, that is privileged or confidential.

FOIA Exemption 5
Interagency or intra-agency memoranda or letters that would not be available by law to a private party in litigation with CPSC.  Exemption 5 incorporates the following privileges:
        - Attorney work-product; 
        - Attorney-client; and
        - Deliberative process.
Records, such as CPSC staff notes, memorandum, emails, correspondence and technical evaluations, recommendations, and analyses, may fall under FOIA Exemption 5 if they are attorney work-product, contain information subject to the attorney-client privilege, or are considered deliberative process.  The deliberative process privilege does not apply to records created 25 years or more before the date on which the records were requested.
FOIA Exemption 6
Personnel, medical, financial and/or similar files for which disclosure would clearly constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

FOIA Exemption 7
Records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement records or information:

A.    Could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings;
B.    Would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication;
C.    Could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;
D.    Could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source, including a state, local,
       or foreign agency or authority or any private institution which furnished the information on a confidential basis;
E.    Would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would
       disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions if such disclosure could reasonably
       be expected to risk circumvention of the law; or
F.    Could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual.

FOIA Exemption 8
Records regarding the regulation or supervision of financial institutions.

FOIA Exemption 9
Geological and geophysical information and data, including maps, concerning wells. 

We invoke Exemption 3 in the following ways:

  • Trade Secrets and Privileged or Confidential Commercial Information

In applying FOIA Exemption 3 to records, we rely in part on section 6(a)(2) of the CPSA, 15 U.S.C. § 2055(a)(2), to withhold files reported to or otherwise obtained by the CPSC that contain or relates to a trade secret or privileged or confidential commercial information.  Section 6(a)(2) prohibits CPSC from disclosing information that is exempt from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the FOIA.  Exemption 4 of the FOIA protects trade secrets and confidential commercial or financial information obtained from a person that is privileged or confidential.

  • Disclosure of Information after Reasonable Steps have been Taken to Determine that information is Accurate, Fair, and Reasonably Related to Effectuating the Purposes of the CPSA

Section 6(b)(1) of the CPSA, 15 U.S.C. § 2055(b)(1), prohibits CPSC from disclosing information about a consumer product that identifies a manufacturer or private labeler, unless the Commission has taken “reasonable steps” to assure that the information is accurate and that the disclosure is fair in the circumstances, and reasonably related to effectuating the purposes of the laws that the CPSC administers.

  • Information Submitted to CPSC Pursuant to Section 15(b) of the CPSA

Section 6(b)(5) of the CPSA, 15 U.S.C. § 2055(b)(5), prohibits the disclosure of information submitted under section 15(b) of the CPSA, 15 U.S.C. § 2064(b) and relating to such an inquiry, unless CPSC has issued a complaint or accepted in writing a remedial settlement agreement,  the person who submitted the information under section 15(b) agrees to its disclosure, or CPSC publishes a finding that the public health and safety requires public disclosure with a lesser period of notice that is required under the statute.  Section 15(b) of the CPSA requires manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers to report to CPSC and provide certain information regarding their products and potential substantial product hazards.  The withheld information from the file includes information submitted by the firm pursuant to section 15(b) of the CPSA or records derived from and based on that information.

  • Accident or Investigation Reports Made by a CPSC Officer or Employee

We remove the information that could identify injured parties because section 25(c)(1) of the CPSA, 15. U.S.C § 2074(c)(1) prohibits such disclosures without the consent of those individuals.  In these cases, the parties have denied consent or consent has not otherwise been obtained.

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