Consumer Reports Analyzes Impact of Landmark Safety Measure

Posted on August 12, 2013

Consumer Reports has released a new article that analyzes the importance of a landmark initiative that sought to improve the safety of numerous types of products, especially those used by children.  The effects of that now five-year old law are still being felt today.

The report looks at the the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which has been in effect for five years starting this Thursday.  What’s perhaps shocking is that it took until 2008 before the key passages of the law came into being.  Consumer Reports points out that the hands of the Consumer Product Safety Commission were somewhat shackled prior to that time.  Limitations to the then-current regulatory landscape made things so that the CPSC was unable to crack down on heightened lead levels, unsafe children’s products, and more.

The threat of lead prior to the law’s passage should not be underestimated.  473 products designed to be used by kids were recalled the year prior to passage because they suffered from levels of lead that could be hazardous, and that number raised even higher in 2008.  Eight million toys in total were recalled that year.

One big reason why such products were allowed to the market in droves was because there simply was not an adequate safeguard in place to protect consumers from this hazard.  At the time, there was no requirement that products be tested for lead prior to reaching the market.  There also weren’t stringent limits on how much lead could actually be contained within a product.

But that all changed in 2008 with the passage of the CPSIA.  That law required that any item designed for kids must undergo testing prior to its release.  This testing must be carried out by an independent third party.  The level of lead that could trigger a safety alert was also reduced.

It wasn’t just lead that the law has had an influence on.  Other products designed for infants, such as strollers and cribs, were tasked with meeting new safety standards designed to limit the risk of entrapment, falling, and other hazards.  Consumer Reports explains that the CPSC is also looking into new safety measures for things like strollers, carriers, and more.

Finally, the law paved the way for the Safer Products website, which provides a repository of recalled items.  If someone suspect that a product in their possession suffers from a recall-worthy safety hazard, they can execute a simple search in order to determine if their suspicions are warranted.  And even if that search doesn’t turn up anything, it’s possible to make a report to the CPSC so that the necessary parties can look into that reported safety issue to determine if it’s indicative of an underlying threat.

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