Product safety regulator has shown ‘inappropriate deference to industry’ in recent years, according to report
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Consumer Reports today praised Senate investigators for a new report recommending strong steps the Consumer Product Safety Commission should take to address recent failures to effectively recall hazardous products, including certain BOB jogging strollers, Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play infant inclined sleepers, and residential elevators.
The report, released by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and the minority staff of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, reflects the findings of a monthslong investigation into CPSC actions under its past leadership. The report notes that current CPSC leadership indicated it will “take a more aggressive approach to protecting consumers and addressing past failures.”
William Wallace, manager of home and safety policy for Consumer Reports, said, “People expect that products are going to be safe. They trust that someone is keeping watch and making sure companies face consequences if they sacrifice safety for a quick buck. But as this report makes clear, that’s not always the case, even when it comes to baby products.”
“CPSC leaders must make full use of their committed, expert staff and every available legal tool to keep consumers safe. This includes warning the public about specific hazardous products, issuing fines when companies don’t follow the law, and demanding full refunds or easy repairs for consumers as a part of recalls—even when companies don’t want them to take these steps.”
In April 2019, CR revealed that dozens of infant deaths were linked to inclined sleepers, including the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper. The Senate report notes that although the CPSC had received reports of these deaths for several years, “it appears that the Commission refused to take action to alert the public until the information was released by Consumer Reports.”
CR recently wrote to manufacturers and retailers urging them to immediately remove all inclined sleepers from store shelves and online stores if they have not yet done so. Companies including eBay, Amazon, Walmart, and Buy Buy Baby have thus far agreed to remove the products.
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Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit membership organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. For 80 years, CR has provided evidence-based product testing and ratings, rigorous research, hard-hitting investigative journalism, public education, and steadfast policy action on behalf of consumers’ interests. Unconstrained by advertising or other commercial influences, CR has exposed landmark public health and safety issues and strives to be a catalyst for pro-consumer changes in the marketplace. From championing responsible auto safety standards, to winning food and water protections, to enhancing healthcare quality, to fighting back against predatory lenders in the financial markets, Consumer Reports has always been on the front lines, raising the voices of consumers.