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Consumer Product Safety Commission And You

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $900 billion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard. CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products – such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals – contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.  Duties of the CPSC are:

  • Developing voluntary standards with standards organizations, manufacturers and businesses;
  • Issuing and enforcing mandatory standards or banning consumer products if no feasible standard would adequately protect the public;
  • Obtaining the recall of products and arranging for a repair, replacement or refund for recalled products;
  • Researching potential product hazards;
  • Informing and educating consumers directly and through traditional, online, and social media and by working with foreign, state and local governments and private organizations; and
  • Educating manufacturers worldwide about our regulations, supply chain integrity and development of safe products.
  • Q: Why is a consumer product recalled? A: CPSC announces recalls of products that present a significant risk to consumers, either because the product could contain a defect or because it violates a mandatory safety standard. Q: If I own a recalled product, does that mean I should stop using it? A: Typically yes. You should follow the specific guidance in CPSC’s recall announcement for that specific product to secure a replacement, repair or refund. Q: Suppose I have a product that’s been recalled, but I don’t hear about the recall until a week, a month or a year or more later. How long is a recall in effect? A: There is usually no end date to a product recall. Even if you don’t learn of the recall for a year or more, you should follow the guidance in the recall notice the CPSC issues. Call the company at the toll-free number or contact the company through its website, both of which are listed in CPSC’s news release. This information is listed in the “Consumer Contact” information on more recent recalls. If you are unsuccessful with the company, contact CPSC’s toll-free hotline at (800) 638-2772. Q: If a product made by a particular company is recalled, does that mean the company’s other similar products are unsafe? A: No. Each recall that CPSC announces applies only to the specific brand and model identified in the recall announcement. In many cases, the recall applies only to products manufactured and date-coded for specific time periods (e.g. brand “X”, model “Y” manufactured between Aug. 1, 2010, and Oct. 17, 2012). Specific descriptions of each recalled product are given in each CPSC recall announcement. Q: If a product I have is recalled, will I get my money back? A: Not necessarily. There is no one-size-fits-all remedy for recalled products. Remedies typically consist of a refund, repair or replacement. The remedy for consumers is described in each recall announcement. Q: What products does CPSC regulate? A: CPSC regulates thousands of types of consumer products, including many hazardous substances. These products range from dishwashers to toys, from all-terrain vehicles to art supplies, from children’s sleepwear to portable gas generators, from cigarette lighters to household chemicals. Here’s a list of regulated products for which consumer product safety rules exist. CPSC relies on its main statutes, the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) and the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA) for the majority of its jurisdiction. Here is the full list of laws that CPSC administers. Q: Does CPSC have jurisdiction over all consumer products? A: No. We don’t have jurisdiction over some categories of consumer products. They include automobiles and other on-road vehicles, tires, boats, alcohol, tobacco, firearms, food, drugs, cosmetics, pesticides, and medical devices. This list on our website directs you to the correct agency for products that are outside of our jurisdiction. Q: How does CPSC regulate products? A: CPSC requires that manufacturers and importers of children’s products certify that their products comply with mandatory rules after testing at third party laboratories whose accreditation is accepted by the CPSC. CPSC also requires manufacturers and importers of some non-children’s products to certify that their products comply with mandatory rules after testing and establishing a reasonable testing program. The CPSA outlines the prohibited actions that apply to anyone who sells, offers for sale, manufactures for sale, distributed in commerce or imports any consumer product regulated by the CPSC. Failure to comply with these prohibited acts could subject you to civil and criminal penalties. Q: What do I need to know if I can’t find a regulation for my product? A: Here’s a list of regulated products. Even if there is not a specific mandatory regulation in place for a product, CPSC may still have jurisdiction over a consumer product. You may be obligated to report a product with a potential health or safety hazard, as described below. In addition, CPSC urges companies to comply with voluntary standards that may exist for a consumer product. If you have suffered a personal injury as a result of an unsafe product, please give my office, The Law Office of Todd M. Friedman, a call today at (877) 449-8898