Entries in Consumer Product Safety Commission (8)


Buckyballs Maker Appeals to Obama for Help

Consumer Product Safety Commission(WASHINGTON) -- The Consumer Product Safety Commission thinks Buckyballs are so dangerous that the agency did something a few days ago that it hasn’t done in 11 years: it sued the maker of the adult toy to have them removed from the market.

On Thursday morning, Craig Zucker, the CEO and founder of Buckyballs, took out a full page ad in the Washington Post, asking President Obama to intervene.

“Dear President Obama, I know that you support small business and now I need your help to save ours from being shut down by the CPSC,” Zucker wrote in the open letter.

Buckyballs are very tiny and very powerful magnets.  Young children sometimes think they are candy and try to eat them.  Older children who want tongue piercings without actually getting their tongues pierced, place one on the top of the tongue and another on the bottom.  But when they get loose, they can travel through the body, tearing holes in the walls of the intestines and ripping the lining of the stomach.

Buckyballs do carry very powerful warnings, but the CPSC says that is not enough.  A group of doctors recently showed some members of Congress pictures of the damage they can do to bodies of young people.  They strongly support the ban.

But Zucker says to the president, “It feels unfair, unjust and well, just un-American.  We will Fight Back Vigorously.  But we could sure use your help!”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Macy's to Pay $750,000 Civil Penalty for Hazardous Clothing Sales 

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Macy’s Inc. will pay a $750,000 fine for failing to immediately report that it sold children’s sweatshirts, sweaters and jackets with dangerous drawstrings at the neck, which could cause strangulation, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).  

CPSC alleged that Macy's and Macy's-owned stores such as Bloomingdale's and Robinson's-May knowingly sold the hazardous garments between 2006 and 2010, even some that had already been recalled.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act requires that manufacturers, distributors and retailers report items deemed hazardous or defective immediately to CPSC.

Though Macy's has agreed to pay the fines, it denies knowingly violating the law.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Last Days for Government's Product Safety Database?

SaferProducts [dot] gov(WASHINGTON) -- With lawmakers still debating the deficit and whether to raise the nation's debt ceiling past $14.29 trillion, the only government sponsored online product safety database is near its end.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) online database,, just launched in March, but the House Appropriations Committee approved a spending bill late last month decreasing the Commission's budget and eliminating funding for its online database.  The bill, which needs approval of the House and Senate, could be on the House floor as early as the middle of next week, according to Jennifer Hing, communications director of the House Appropriations Committee.

"CPSC's database is an example of a poorly executed regulatory policy that does not protect consumers and hurts business at a time when industries need our help the most," Hing said.

Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., introduced a provision on page 90 of the bill for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2012.  The provision states "none of the funds made available by this act may be used to carry out any of the activities described in section 6A of the Consumer Product Safety Act," saving about $3 million.

The database was mandated by section 6a in 2008, when President Bush signed the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, regulating products for children under 12.  That law was an update to the Consumer Products Safety Act in 1972.  In 2008, the law was passed 89-3 in the Senate and 424-1 in the House.

Out of the database's 1,600 complaints, 104 were found to have inaccuracies by the Commission, mostly related to an incorrect manufacturer.

Alex Filip, CPSC spokesman, said the Commission has received strong support for the database from consumers, who submit the majority of complaints.  Another large source of complaints are from medical professionals.

Filip said the Commission vets the complaints before posting them online.  Once a consumer submits a complaint, the Commission has five days to contact the manufacturer.  The Commission then offers 10 days for manufacturers to respond to the complaint.  Consumers must describe the product, identify a manufacturer or private labeler, describe whether there was any injury, and verify that the report is true and accurate to the best of their knowledge.

But lawmakers say the database is flawed and must go.

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) introduced legislation in February prohibiting funds to implement the database.  The bill passed in the House 234 to 187.

Pompeo said there are other more effective means to help protect consumers not funded by the government, such as Consumer Reports or contacting manufacturers directly.  He said the government should not post information online "unless it knows the information to be accurate."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New Generation of Safer Cribs Hit Stores Nationwide

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission(WASHINGTON) -- A new generation of safer baby cribs will go on sale at retail stores across the U.S. Tuesday, thanks to a government rule that bans old drop-side cribs.

The new cribs will have fixed sides, preventing infants from getting their necks stuck as they could have with the drop-side models.  These older cribs have caused at least 32 infant deaths in the last decade, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The CPSC's Nychelle Flemming says "the new requirements include stopping the manufacture and sale of dangerous traditional drop-side cribs as well as making mattress supports and crib slats stronger, crib hardware more durable and also more rigorous safety testing."

Although companies can no longer produce or sell the drop-side cribs, that doesn't mean they've disappeared entirely.  Since 2007, the government has recalled over 11 million drop-side cribs.  If you want to check if your crib is on the recalled list, visit the CPSC's wesbite.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Walmart Recalls GE Food Processors After Injuries, Fires Reported

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission(WASHINGTON) -- Walmart issued a recall Wednesday of 255,000 food processors after receiving reports that the product caused fires and injuries to consumers' fingertips.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said the recall affects GE-branded, 14-cup food processors that were sold at the retail giant's U.S. stores and website for about $50 between September 2009 and February 2011.  The black and stainless steel-trimmed processors were made in China and have a model number of 169203.

Walmart has received 58 complaints about the product, 21 of which led to fingertip injuries and three of which resulted in fires.

According to the CPSC, the food processor's safety interlock system can fail, allowing it to start without its lid on and, therefore, pose a laceration threat to consumers.  The appliance could also emit smoke and catch fire.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


CPSC Reissues Recall on over 985,000 Delta Drop-Side Cribs

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is once again recalling drop-side cribs made by Delta Enterprise Corp. after learning that a seven-month-old girl from Colorado became entrapped and suffocated in her recalled crib in 2009.

The latest recall affects more than 985,000 cribs and is a reissue of the original recall from October 2008.  It includes 49 models with "Crib Trigger Lock with Safety Peg" drop-side hardware.

The affected cribs were made in Taiwan and Indonesia and sold at major retailers like Kmart, Target and Walmart between January 1995 and December 2005.

The CPSC warns that missing safety pegs can cause the crib's drop-side rail to disengage from the track, creating a hazardous space in which an infant can become entrapped and suffocate.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Federal Government Launches New Consumer Complaint Database

SaferProducts [dot] gov(WASHINGTON) -- The federal government is hoping to lessen accidents and injuries caused by consumer products by providing a database with safety information on a range of goods, including cribs, toys, and strollers., the brainchild of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, launches Friday, and it's designed to help consumers get more information about products large and small.

The CPSC already collects reports of defective products from a wide range of sources, including consumers, health care providers, death certificates and media accounts, but most of that information is private.

The database was created as part of a consumer product safety law passed by Congress in 2008, and marks the first time the federal government will make public thousands of complaints it receives each year about the safety of various products.

The database will include only information about defects that result in injury or death, not complaints about reliability or quality, nor about food items, drugs, medical devices, cosmetics, tobacco, automobiles, or tires.

When a consumer files a complaint, the CPSC has five days to notify the manufacturer, which in turn has 10 days to respond to the complaint.  The manufacturer can challenge the complaint as false, arguing that it will give away a trade secret or submit a response.

Complaints about a product will be posted to the database within 15 days.  If a manufacturer provides a response, it will be published alongside the complaint.  If a manufacturer says that a complaint is false or that to answer it would disclose confidential business information, the CPSC will decide whether to withhold or publish the complaint.

Those filing a complaint must identify themselves, but that information won't be published and will be disclosed to the manufacturer only with the consumer's permission.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Is Consumer Product Safety Testing Stifling Job Growth?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Republicans Thursday took aim at recently enacted consumer product safety regulations, saying they caused unintended consequences -- creating a burden on small businesses and stifling job creation. The target of their complaint is The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008.

"For thousands of businesses, who strive to be responsible, let's do what's best for consumers. CPSIA has consumed an inordinate amount of their time trying to understand how each new regulation and standard will affect them," Chairman Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif, said. "Unfortunately, many have gone out of business, attributing their demise to some of the burdens of compliance with the many provisions of the new law."

Representatives from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and various small businesses and manufacturers testified before a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

CPSC commissioner Anne Northup, a Republican appointed to the commission by President Obama, argued that third-party testing requirements mandated by the CPSIA for leading in products had a negative impact on small businesses and job growth.

"It has been shocking to me the number of businesses that we have entirely caused to go out of business, the number of businesses that have left children's product arena completely because of this bill, the number of choices that parents no longer have," Northup said.

According to Northup, businesses have told the CPSC that testing requirements "stifle innovation and product variety by erecting significant cost barriers to adding to toys new accessories, new colors, or other variations."

CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum defended the CPSC's implementation of the CPSIA thus far to ensure safety standards are maintained for consumer products. Democrats joined the praise for the law, calling it a vast improvement from the consumer product safety bills in years past.

"The bottom line issue of protecting consumers and particularly children -- that is the proper role of government," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill. "That is our proper role that we will exert today. We're going to protect our consumers and our children."

In March, the CPSC is set to unveil a publicly searchable database, mandated by the 2008 law, which will allow consumers to check the safety of products on the market and submit independent claims about products.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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