WASHINGTON, D.C. — Millions of consumer products are the subject of a consumer recall each year in the United States. However, opponents of the current process argue that how the Consumer Product Safety Commission, or CPSC, issues recalls is outdated and requires reformation according to Vox.com. Reforming the way that the CPSC conducts business might come sooner rather than later after news broke recently that at least 30 young children died in the Fisher-Price Rock N’ Play Sleeper. Despite receiving several reports over the years that the sleeper was not a safe bed for children in which to sleep, the CPSC took a very long time to issue a recall.
The CPSC monitors various categories of consumer products for safety concerns. The five commissioners appointed to the CPSC shift through approximately 15,000 consumer complaint annually and ordered about 300 recalls. Recalling a product is not automatic, and the commissioners must follow a protocol before ordering a product off of the shelves. The first step the commissioners take is to determine if the product is a risk to the safety of consumers. If so, then staff members of the CPSC investigate the reported issue to determine if the problem has a defect that can cause a substantial hazard.
In the majority of cases, the CPSC can order a corrective measure without ordering a full recall. However, federal law requires companies to report dangerous products to the CPSC if the company learns about them. The mandatory reporting process is how most of the recalls ordered by the CPSC begin. The agency works closely with companies to design a recall plan. Notwithstanding mandatory reporting, the CPSC takes complaints from its website and monitors injury reports from hospitals and other outlets.
Safety advocates crave change. They say that the CPSC should be proactive instead of reactive and test products as they come to market. Additionally, advocates say that the CPSC and the companies involved in recalls need to do a better job of notifying consumers. They say many people do not know that they own a product that the CPSC recalled due to safety concerns.
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