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New Study Shows Deadly Delays in Notification of Dangerous, Defective Products

Today we released a new report showing that despite a law requiring manufacturers to provide the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) with "immediate" notification of dangerous products, there are long delays before the public learns of dangerous, defective products.

The study, Hazardous Waits: CPSC Lets Crucial Time Pass Before Warning Public About Dangerous Products, covers 46 cases since 2002 in which the CPSC fined manufacturers for failing to adhere to the law requiring prompt reporting.  In addition, companies fined for tardy reporting took an average of 993 days - 2.7 years - between learning of a safety defect in their products and notifying the CPSC.

Perhaps as shocking, the CPSC then took an average of 209 additional days before disclosing the information to the public - even though each case concerned a product defect so dangerous that the item was recalled.  Under current law, the CPSC cannot disclose information about dangerous products without court approval or manufacturer agreement.

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.

It's time to change the law to give the CPSC the authority to truly protect consumers.  Read the study and more about the problems with the CPSC.

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