Introduction



CPSC was created in 1972 by Congress under the Consumer Product Safety Act and began operating in 1973. In the Consumer Product Safety Act, Congress directed CPSC to protect the public "against unreasonable risks of injuries associated with consumer products."
As stated on CPSC's website, "The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children."

What Does CPSC Do?


CPSC is an Independent Federal Regulatory Agency. As stated on their website, "CPSC works to save lives and keep families safe by reducing the risk of injuries and deaths associated with consumer products. We do this by

  • developing voluntary standards with industry
  • issuing and enforcing mandatory standards or banning consumer products if no feasible standard would adequately protect the public
  • obtaining the recall of products or arranging for their repair
  • conducting research on potential product hazards
  • informing and educating consumers through the media, state and local governments, private organizations, and by responding to consumer inquiries"

What Product Types Are Under CPSC's Jurisdiction?


CPSC has jurisdiction over more than 15,000 kinds of consumer products used in and around the home, in sports, recreation and schools. CPSC does not have jurisdiction over some categories of products: automobiles and other on-road vehicles, tires, boats, alcohol, tobacco, firearms, food, drugs, cosmetics, pesticides, and medical devices.

These product categories are listed in CPSC's 2009 annual report:
1. CHILD NURSERY EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES
2. TOYS
3. SPORTS AND RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES AND EQUIPMENT
4. HOME COMMUNICATION, ENTERTAINMENT AND HOBBY EQUIPMENT
5. PERSONAL USE ITEMS
6. PACKAGING AND CONTAINERS FOR HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS
7. YARD AND GARDEN EQUIPMENT
8. HOME WORKSHOP APPARATUS, TOOLS AND ATTACHMENTS
9. HOME AND FAMILY MAINTENANCE PRODUCTS
10. GENERAL HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES
11. SPACE HEATING, COOLING AND VENTILATING EQUIPMENT
12. HOUSEWARES
13. HOME FURNISHINGS AND FIXTURES
14. HOME STRUCTURES AND CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS
15. MISCELLANEOUS PRODUCTS

Product Testing and Recalls


It's important to note that CPSC does not have the legal authority to test or certify products for safety before they can be sold to consumers. CPSC doesn't endorse or recommend specific brands of products. Instead, CPSC provides information to consumers on what safety features to look for in products. In cooperation with manufacturers, CPSC also announces recalls of products that it believes pose potential risk for serious injury or death.

CPSC learns about potential product defects from many sources, including incident reports, consumer complaints, the Hotline, and the Web site. In addition, firms are required legally to report potential product hazards or violations of standards to the Commission. The Commission works with companies to remove products from the marketplace when they violate mandatory safety standards or are defective by creating a substantial risk of injury. Recall information is listed on the CPSC website.

In 2009, CPSC staff completed 465 cooperative recalls (100 percent voluntary) of products that either violated mandatory standards or were defective and presented a substantial risk of injury to the public. If a firm refuses to recall a product voluntarily, CPSC may litigate to require a recall.

Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA)


On August 14, 2008, the President signed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) into law. The CPSIA directs the Commission to implement numerous rulemakings and other official Commission actions intended to enhance the safety of consumer products. Over 40 separate rules or rulemaking activities were mandated by the CPSIA.

Rulemakings, related rulemaking activities, and official actions mandated or initiated by the CPSIA include a catalogue labeling rule, an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) rule, procedures for handling lead exclusions, accreditation procedures for adherence to various consumer product safety standards, and rules relating to twelve categories of durable infant and toddler products.

References


http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/reports/2009rpt.pdf
http://www.cpsc.gov/about/faq.html#wha

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