Occasionally we highlight product recalls from manufacturers due to defects in design or incorrect material specifications that can lead to injury or death. Often these recalls circulate around the internet for a while and the end user of the defective item might never find out about the deficiency in the product until it is too late. A manufacturer does not have to wait to be notified by the government agency in charge of overseeing consumer safety with regards to a defective products and can imitated a recall on their own; but they always partner with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) during the recall.
The CPSC has one purpose – for over 30 years they have been “protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction.” This is a fairly simple mission, but it can be difficult to get the word out about a defective product especially if the number of items that were manufactured is small. For example, one recall that was just announced was from C.O. Lynch was only for 5,200 units sold as Itasca Fusion Hiker boots by Big 5 Sports from March 2011 and June 2011. This is a small window of time and a small number of units – this certainly will not make the evening news.
As with a lot of things in life, you have to seek out the information it will not magically appear for you. The CPSC does make searching and reporting of defective products easier for consumers. For about five months now, the website SaferProducts.gov has been up and running providing consumers with a searchable database of all products under the jurisdiction of the CPSC.
What is the “Publicly Available Consumer Product Safety Information Database” or “Database”?
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Publicly Available Consumer Product Safety Information Database (Database) is a publicly searchable database where submitters can report to the CPSC a harm or risk of harm related to the use of a consumer product or other product or substance within the jurisdiction of the CPSC.
Members of the public can search the Database for safety information about products that are in their home already, or that they may be thinking about purchasing. Beginning March 11, 2011, reports of harm or “Reports,” that contain minimum information required by law and that provide the submitter’s consent, will be posted in the Database on our website at: www.SaferProducts.gov. The public can search the Database and review Reports approximately 15 business days after a Report is submitted to the CPSC.
Product manufacturers (including importers) and private labelers that are identified in a Report may submit comments to be displayed in the Database along with the Report. Information about product recalls is also available for search and review in the Database. The Database represents a new level of transparency for the CPSC, allowing the public to have immediate access to safety information about consumer products.
The website acts as both a portal of reporting defective products to consumers and access to the agency if a consumer has a product that they think is a safety risk. If you find that you have a product that you believe is defective, the CPSC makes it easy to submit a ‘report’ directly to them via the Internet.
After searching the database using just the word ‘bicycle’, it was personally alarming to read over the number of recalls that we have never seen. Felt, Salsa, FSA, Bell and many more have products on the recall list that were just added in the last year alone. If you believe that safety for you and your family is a top priority, walk, don’t run over to the CPSC’s website.