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One year later, consumers make use of online product safety database

Consumer Reports News: March 29, 2012 03:23 PM

The Consumer Product Safety Commission's consumer product database marks its one-year anniversary today. lets you share and access safety information about products you either own or are considering buying. The CPSC has historically collected consumer complaints about products, but most were not available to the public unless a recall was announced.

The Consumer Federation of America and Kids in Danger have analyzed the first 10 months of reports to the CPSC database. Of the 6,080 reports, the largest number were about kitchen products (37 percent), particularly appliances, and 15 percent of the reports were about products for children, such as toys and nursery items.

We have found important information in the database about everything from appliance fires to strollers to shattering glass bakeware.

Ami Gadhia, senior product safety counsel for Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, says the CPSC database is an important tool for consumers.

Last year, 82 percent of consumers told us in a national survey that they were interested in a product database like this to report and search for problems. Clearly, this database makes a real difference in helping consumers protect themselves and their families.

Almost all of the reports to the site were from consumers. Medical professionals made up only 0.46 percent, and medical examiners and coroners made up only 0.2 percent. Other public safety entities made up just 1 percent. "More should be done to reach out to medical experts and others to ensure that they are aware of the database," said the Director of Product Safety and Senior Counsel at Consumer Federation of America, Rachel Weintraub.

Our investigation of appliance fires: Is your home safe? Millions of dishwashers, fridges, ranges, and more are on recall lists, and investigation of shattering glass bakeware: We put Pyrex and Anchor Hocking dishes to the test.

The CPSC database is at

One year Anniversary of CPSC Consumer Safety Information Database's First Postings (pdf) [Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Kids In Danger]

Maggie Shader

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