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Hazardous Waits: CPSC Lets Crucial Time Pass Before Warning Public About Dangerous Products

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Publication Date: January 2008

Publisher(s): Public Citizen, inc.

Author(s): Peter Gosselar; Taylor Lincoln

Topic: Economics (Consumers and consumption)
Law and ethics (Commercial law)
Manufacturing and industry (Manufacturing and manufactured goods)

Keywords: product; safety; CPSC; consumer

Type: Report

Coverage: United States

Abstract:

Despite a law requiring manufacturers to provide the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) with "immediate" notification of dangerous products, the agency typically delays nearly seven months after learning of dangerous, defective products before telling the public. A new Public Citizen study, Hazardous Waits: CPSC Lets Crucial Time Pass Before Warning Public About Dangerous Products, reveals that 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.

In response to this discovery, Public Citizen wrote a letter to Chairman Nancy Nord requesting information regarding cases in which the CPSC pursued criminal prosecution of manufacturers that withheld information from the Commission to cover up the discovery of dangerous or hazardous products.