The Consumer Product Safety Commission: What You Need To Know

What stands between you and a dangerous, defective product? In many cases, the answer is the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). This federal organization was created as part of the 1972 Consumer Product Safety Act and exists in order to protect residents of the United States from unsafe products that could cause injury or harm.

The CPSC has the power to regulate a large number of products for sale in the US, including children's toys, ATVs, spas and swimming pools, bikes, mattresses, household goods, cleaning supplies, furniture, tools, and appliances.

The CPSC also issues recalls and warnings when it becomes clear that a product is harming buyers or that a buyer could be harmed. Recalls can be browsed at the company's website - or users can sign up for an email alert of recalled products. The CPSC also maintains a consumer hotline where those harmed by dangerous products can report their experiences.

In addition to regulating products and announcing recalls, the CPSC also strives to educate consumers and retailers about dangerous and defective products and how to avoid injury and death. Recently, for example, the federal agency released handbook information for resellers of used products that helps keep buyers safe from older products that may not meet today's safety standards.

Finally, the CPSC also tracks emergency room visits at about 100 hospitals around the country in order to keep a record of how consumers are injured and whether or not a dangerous product might have been responsible for their injury. The data collected form this sampling of hospitals is used to generate national accident statistics and estimates.

To visit the CPSC's website, click here.

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