Nearly 5 million products deemed either defective or dangerous were halted from entry into the U.S. last fiscal year, with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission noting that many were products intended for children.
While our Montgomery child injury lawyers recognize this is an important service, particularly as it represents an increased vigilance over recent years, we know there are still a great number of dangerous products that make it to store shelves each day. Product recalls can help, but those are typically only issued after a defect or danger has been uncovered - meaning someone has already been hurt.
Not all of those dangerous products are imports, but it's not surprising that many are, given the fact that many of our biggest importers, including China and India, lack the same kinds of rigid safety standards that we hold in the U.S.
Of the 18,000 products the CPSC, along with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, screened between October 2011 and September 2012, about 1,500 were found to be defective. There were some 4.8 million units in all.
Children's products with excessive lead levels have historically comprised the bulk of the products halted, and that trend continued last year. Other toys and child's products containing choking hazards and high phthalate levels were also among the top items seized.
The CPSC has been screening products since 1973. However, efforts were intensified in 2008 and again in 2011, with the creation of the Office of Import Surveillance.
But still, dangerous products manage to make it in. One recent example is the Baby Einstein Musical Motion Activity Jumpers, manufactured in China. Some 400,000 of these jumpers were sold in the U.S., and another 8,500 were sold in Canada. According to the CPSC, the yellow sun toy, which is attached to the seat frame, has the potential to rebound with significant force, causing injury to the infant. Already, there have been 100 incident reports resulting in more than 60 injuries. Of those, many involved bruises and facial cuts. In one case, a 7-month-old baby boy suffered a lineal skull fracture. In another case, an adult suffered a chipped tooth. The product was sold at major retailers, including Toys R Us, Target and Amazon.com over the last three years, retailing for about $90.
Of the children's products that were blocked from U.S. entry in the last quarter, 62 percent were due to excessive lead levels, 15 percent due to small parts creating choking hazards, 10 percent were for improper certification, 4 percent were for excessive phthalates, 4 percent were for improper tracking labels and 1 percent were for nursery products that were not durable.
Some of the adult products halted from entry included:
- Luminaries (26 percent);
- Cigarette lighters (19 percent);
- Fireworks (15 percent);
- Bicycle helmets (6 percent);
- Hairdryers (6 percent);
- Electric Aquarium equipment (6 percent);
- Generator labeling (4 percent);
- Mattresses (4 percent).
The rest included electric fans, flat irons and portable lamps.