African Americans in Consumer Product Safety: Edith Barksdale Sloan

Edith Barksdale Sloan: It Is Her Business to Protect Consumers 

Edith Barksdale Sloan

Mrs. Edith Barksdale Sloan was described as very sweet, articulate and frank when it came to the work that needed to be done on behalf of consumers. “We’re here in the business to protect consumers from unreasonable risk of injury,” Sloan said in her statements upon election as Vice-Chairman in 1978.

Before her appointment by President Jimmy Carter to the Commission, Sloan led the D.C. Office of Consumer Protection in its efforts to recall pajamas treated with a flame-retardant chemical, Tris, a suspected carcinogen. Her prior experience in regulating Tris was vital to CPSC as the Commission banned it in 1977 as a treatment in children’s sleepwear.

Children’s pajamas and flame retardants were not her only areas of concern. In a CPSC statement in 1978, Sloan said that she was “especially concerned about injuries caused when children play upon public playground equipment in the parks and school yards of this country.”

After her tenure with CPSC, she spent time with the Washington, D.C.  Law Firm of Fortas, Prokop and Hardman. She also served on the D.C. Consumer Claims Arbitration Board during the 1980s.

As a humanitarian, activist and lawyer, Sloan used her abilities and experience to educate and protect consumers from chemicals, flammable children’s clothing and other child dangers in and around the home.

Thank you, Mrs. Edith Barksdale Sloan.

This is the fourth of seven profiles of African Americans who made significant contributions to product safety in the United States.

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