Ever bought a kitchen appliance, and then discovered that it was dangerous to use? You can now warn other people about dangerous products even before they get recalled. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has unveiled a new database called SaferProducts.gov. There, you can report products that pose safety risks and see the reports made by others about potentially unsafe products.
According to the New York Times, “the database will essentially make public the types of injury and death reports, and assorted hazard complaints, that the commission has gathered for years, but that have largely remained out of public view.” Why’s the database launching now? Well, remember all those recalls of children’s products due to lead contamination in the last decade or so? Those scares led to new legislation in 2008. Creating this database was part of that legislation.
Go on SaferProducts.gov, and you’ll be able to browse consumer products in all sorts of categories, from toy clowns to sake warmers. Did you know that a sake warmer was recalled last year due to a burn hazard? Fascinating!
Unfortunately, now the site only has information on recalls; the reports will go public in early April, giving the government agency time to vet the information, and the companies time to respond to them. That means if you submit a report, you won’t see instant gratification on SaferProducts.com — even if you feel everyone should know immediately how dangerous you’ve found a product to be. You’ll need to wait about 15 business days for your information to appear.
And your report will only make it on the database if it meets all the criteria for inclusion. For one, your report can’t be about food, drugs, cosmetics, cars and guns, according to the NY Times — though gun accessories appear to be fair game. For another, your report must center around a safety issue. Remember, this is a safety-specific site. Reports about the performance or other aspects of a product just won’t make it on the site — even if you really, sincerely believe it’s imperative that everyone be warned the juicer you dropped a Benjamin on is tortuously tough to clean. For those types of pressing reports, try writing a review on Amazon.
And just so you know, the Consumer Product Safety Commission keeps an interesting Flickr account, too. Want to see photos of recalled cribs? The agency’s put together a handy photo set for you to peruse. See all 88!
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