Here’s some important information for anyone concerned about product safety:
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission must strengthen its data collection methods or risk dangerous delays in identifying harmful products and pulling them from shelves, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The GAO is concerned that the CPSC does not demand serial numbers from users who submit warnings to its consumer safety website SaferProducts.gov, which are then forwarded to manufacturers for identification and to discuss whether the product needs to be recalled and listed on the site.
Currently, users need only to submit a photograph or description of the item.
The GAO worries that this is causing delays in products being recognized as dangerous and the appropriate warnings being made. It says serial numbers should be mandatory in all user reports.
What do you think?
Have you ever dealt with the CPSC? Do you think they respond quickly enough to product safety concerns? How would you improve the service?
Watch this space for the government’s response.
Some further reading
As a side note, SaferProducts.gov is a fantastic resource for parents and other shoppers concerned about potentially harmful products. Launched in response to a spike in product recalls in 2007 and 2008, the site databases safety alerts in a user-friendly, searchable way. Check it out.