NEWS22 September 2010

Researcher jailed over faked child safety tests for lighters

Legal North America

US— A researcher who admitted faking child safety tests for cigarette lighters has been sentenced to eight months in prison plus eight months of home detention.

Karen Forcade, the president of now-defunct research agency Youth Research Inc, admitted falsified her own testing data and that of companies she hired to conduct the lighter tests on multiple occasions between March 1994 and August 2005.

Forcade, 67, changed details of tests so they appeared to have been conducted in line with regulations set out by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Details of the birth dates, sex and schools of study participants were altered so that the submitted data would meet mandated protocols.

In one test conducted in May 1998, court documents say, Forcade fabricated data for 96 of the 100 children who comprised the testing panel.

The CPSC approved 97 lighters based on Forcade’s and Youth Research’s test reports. Forcade was paid approximately $15,000 per test by lighter manufacturers or importers.

Her sentence includes a $10,000 fine and three years of supervised release. Further details are available from local press reports.