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The Role of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) was established by Congress in 1972; today, it is the federal regulating body that has the task of protecting children and families from the unreasonable risks associated with the use of the thousands of consumer products that is under the agency's watch.

According to the CPSC, the injuries, deaths and costs from dangerous and defective products costs the United States more than $900 billion dollars annually; therefore, the CPSC is dedicated to protecting the public and their families from dangerous products that pose a risk of fire, electrical, chemical or mechanical hazard.

The CPSC continuously works to ensure the safety of consumer products, and these include cribs, toys, household chemicals, power tools, and other products. The CPSC has been extremely effective in reducing the number of consumer product-related injuries and death rates over the years by employing a variety of strategies to both identify and address these safety concerns, these include the following:

  • Identifying hazards and monitoring. This includes collecting information and monitoring the injury and death statistics related to the use of the products which are under the CPSC's jurisdiction.
  • Developing, strengthening and monitoring safety standards.
  • Enforcing compliance through enforcement activities such as recalls.
  • Educating the consumer, families and industry about product safety recalls, safety alerts, safety standards etc.
  • Coordinating on product safety issues with government authorities.

On August 14, 2008, the President signed into law the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). This Act allows the Commission to enact numerous rules and other actions for the purpose of enhancing the safety of consumer products on the market, and more than 40 different rules were mandated by the CPSIA, some of which include: rules over lead content, rules for children's products, children's toys and childcare articles, labeling of consumer products as they pertain to certification requirements, consumer registration forms, new safety standards, and accreditation requirements for durable infant and toddler products.

The CPSC obtains information on potential product defects from a variety of sources such as incidence reports, consumer complaints, the agency's website and its hotline. What's more, firms are required by law to report to the Commission any potential product hazards or violations of standards. When a company violates the mandatory safety standards and create a substantial risk of injury with their products, the Commission works with the companies to remove these products from the market. This removal process includes: voluntary recall orders, Letters of Advice sent to importers and manufacturers, and Commission determinations and judicial actions.

If you or someone you love has been injured by a dangerous or defective product, we urge you to contact Shoop | A Professional Law Corporation to schedule a consultation with a Los Angeles product liability attorney to discuss filing a claim for compensation