After reviewing the Consumer Products Safety Commission's progress reports regarding 25 recalled products and finding that several of the reports were either completely lacking critical information or internally conflicted, non-profit group Kids In Danger concluded in its annual report that the CPSC could not effectively determine whether these recalls were in fact successful or effective. In addition, the report opined that the CPSC's oversight of its product recalls was insufficient, because not enough was or is being done to notify consumers of the product recalls, as a result of which many of these dangerous products are remaining in consumer's homes or school facilities, rather than being taken out of circulation.
The CPSC's response to this report, which predictably defended their record on the recalls, also contained a somewhat interesting claim: according to their spokesman, the primary method by which the CPSC determines if its recalls are working is by waiting to see whether they are still receiving reports of problems with the product.
From this statement, it seems like the CPSC's follow-up on any one of its product recalls is largely, if not purely, reactive. Thus, theoretically, the CPSC would determine that one of its recalls failed only after someone suffered a tragic accident or traumatic personal injuries.
I, for one, would have hoped that this massive governmental agency, whose mission statement accepts responsibility for assuring the safety of our children from unsafe toys and other recreational and household products, would have a far more scientifically sound and proactive method for assessing the success of a product recall.
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