Posts Tagged: CPSC

CPSC consumer-driven database goes public, but faces uncertain future

The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s new on-line database,, which allows consumers to post “reports” about defective products went into operation March 11th, and the first postings are now available to the public (as of April 1st).  But some members of Congress are still trying to shut it down.

Freshman legislator Representative Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas), an ardent budget-buster, authored an amendment to the 2011 budget bill to de-fund the database, and he continues to call for its demise.  The cost of creating the database came to $3 million out of the CPSC’s $29 million budget for upgrading its entire information technology operation. (more…)

Business to CPSC: Let’s handle this offline

One of the signature reforms to the product safety system in America may be in danger, according to reporting by Andrew Martin in the New York Times.  The 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act meant more inspectors testing toys and a range of other products and overseas inspections of factories shipping goods to our shores (such as drywall from China).  It also meant the creation of an online public database where people can report problems they’ve had with different products they’re already using.  Martin notes on an amendment passed in the House of Representatives that would  “strip financing for the consumer products database.”  How about we trust the people and try this out?  (Rather than stating, as one member of Congress skeptically did, “I know what people put online.”)

Monday: Big news day for consumer safety

The public affairs officers at the Consumer Product Safety Commission must have had a busy weekend.  The CPSC has news on two initiatives today, both of them ambitious and both potentially game-changing in the sphere of product safety.  First, as Lyndsey Layton reports in the Washington Post, CPSC has formally announced plans to open up a public online database of safety complaints Americans submit about products they have purchased.  (more…)

CPSC finally bans deadly cribs

Inez Tennenbaum

The Chicago Tribune patted itself on the back today as the Consumer Product Safety Commission banned all cribs with a drop-side rail. Over the past three years, CPSC recalled more than 11 million cribs and received reports of 35 crib-related fatalities. “The new rules are a major victory for CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum, who made crib safety one of her top priorities when she assumed her post in 2009,” write Patricia Callahan and Ellen Gebler. “Tennenbaum set out to remake an agency that had long been captive of industry.”

The Tribune also said it has played a part in promoting the new standards. (more…)

On poisonous drywall, Chinese companies stonewall CPSC

Consumer Product Safety Commission officials trying to find out the true source of hazardous materials, including sulfur, in drywall imported from China (a problem we’ve reported on previously) were subject to misinformation, disinformation, and just plain intimidation when they tried to find out where Chinese drywall might have been contaminated.  That story emerges in almost “handheld documentary” fashion in reporting from Joaquin Sapien and Aaron Kessler (of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune)  in ProPublica.  Their story shows why the U.S. government is going to have to be very creative if it wants to track hazardous products back to their source in today’s globalized economy.  (more…)

Toying with toymakers at the CPSC?

Any government reform is going to take time and effort, and the expansion of the Consumer Products Safety Commission to make sure unsafe products stay off store shelves is no exception.  When we most recently looked into the CPSC’s problems (before its 2008 revamping), it was clear that the independent agency was underfunded and understaffed, and that manufacturers were able to push their own agendas, often at the expense of the public safety. (more…)

Too much to recall: busy consumers don’t return dangerous items

Instead of just product recalls, how about a new approach to consumer safety that provides incentives and penalties to companies based on how well they protect the public safety?

Getting people to return defective and dangerous products takes much more than simply issuing a recall notice, reports Lyndsey Layton of The Washington Post.   The Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Food and Drug Administration, two agencies that are involved with product recalls, face a significant problem: thousands of Americans buy everything (more…)

Toy gun control

Patricia Callahan and Jared S. Hopkins of the Chicago Tribune have a good follow-up story about the Consumer Product Safety Commission persuading Family Dollar Stores Inc. to recall toy guns that shoot inch-long darts. (more…)

A testy toy recall

In 2007, a nine year-old Chicago boy died from inhaling a one-inch dart that was part of his toy gun.  Today the Consumer Product Safety Commission has finally reached an agreement with Family Dollar Stores Inc. to stop selling the “Auto Fire” toy. (more…)

Slow Interagency Response Delays Solutions on Defective Chinese Drywall

Gut your homes. That’s the advice the federal government gave homeowners whose houses smell of rotten eggs and have corroding electrical wiring because they were built with defective drywall imported from China between 2003 and 2008.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) made the startling recommendation in a joint statement, saying the importe drywall might be a health hazard and that residents should “remove all possible problem drywall from their homes, and replace electrical components and wiring, gas service piping, fire suppression sprinkler systems, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.” (more…)