Consumers often left in the dark about dangerous products

cpscupdate.jpgWhen it comes to keeping dangerous, sometimes life-threatening, defective products off the shelves, the Consumer Product Safety Commission often has all the urgency of someone taking a leisurely stroll through the park. A new Public Citizen review of publicly available information shows that it takes the CPSC seven months from the time it receives a manufacturer’s report of a hazardous consumer defect to the time it notifies the public.

Add that to the average 2.7 years that it takes manufacturers to file their reports with the CPSC and consumers are left in the dark for more than three years. Public Citizen is calling on Congress to give the CPSC the authority and resources to fix this broken system.

Among Public Citizen’s findings:

  • Graco waited 11 years to report its faulty infant swing, which was linked to reports of 181 falls that resulted in six deaths and nine serious injuries, including bone fractures and concussions. Graco made the report only after CPSC staff contacted the company.
  • Hoover waited five years to report a vacuum cleaner with a faulty switch that had caused at least 96 fires. The CPSC then took another 279 days before negotiating a recall and informing the public.
  • By February 2000, Polaris Industries had received 1,147 reports of faulty oil lines on its ATV, including 42 instances where the hot oil started a fire and 18 cases in which the oil seriously burned a rider. But the company didn’t report the defect to the CPSC for another year.

Read the report by Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division.