NY products liability lawyer answers the question of how does the federal Consumer Product Safety Act prevent child safety and dangerous product safety disclosures?
Good Morning. I am Bob Friedman, Attorney with Friedman & Ranzenhofer, and PC. Welcome to the December 18th, 2020 edition of the Legal Survival Channel: Today’s Legal News You Can Use.
During your holiday shopping this year, you need to know that the Consumer Product Safety Act (“CPSA”) §6(b) restricts your access to information regarding hazardous consumer products. Because of §6(b of the CPSA, consumers continue to be exposed to dangerous products, even after the danger is known to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (“CPSC”).The CPSC was established in 1972 under the CPSA to protect the public against unreasonable risks of injury associated with consumer products. Its safety oversight ranges from coffee makers, to toys, to lawn mowers, to fireworks.
Many consumers already own products that might present dangerous safety risks to them and their families, for example, furniture ‘tip overs’ resulting in the deaths of infants and toddlers. CPSA”) §6(b) prohibits the publication of any product safety hazard information without a manufacturer’s consent. Section 6(b) prohibits that by requiring the CPSC to notify a manufacturer prior to disclosure, provide manufacturers an opportunity to respond, and extend manufacturers the ability to stop information that may be of imminent importance to the health and safety of consumers. See Decades-Old Law Hides Dangerous Products and Impedes Recalls, by Rachel Rabkin Peachman in Consumer Reports (April 30, 2019).
The warnings do not identify the actual products posing safety risks. The CPSC was prevented by §6(b), from identifying the inclined Rock ‘n Play Sleeper in its consumer advisory issued in May 2018 warning of infant deaths associated with inclined sleep products. Consumers who heard of this generic warning had to guess which particular product was covered by the advisory.
The number of child deaths related to recalled children’s products reached a 17-year high in 2019,according to a study by the group Kids in Danger. A total of 37 of the 38 deaths were the result of inclined infant sleepers, and the remaining death was related to a chest of drawers that tipped over.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Consumer Product. Safety Commission v. GTE Sylvania allows manufacturers to pre-approve the CPSC’s Freedom of Information Act responses to the public resulting in substantive redactions. In an April 2019 congressional hearing before the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, Commissioner Robert Adler plainly stated that “each year, we [the CPSC] must spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and delay sometimes for months or longer the release of information because of 6(b).” CSPC Commissioner Elliott Kaye stated, “people die because of §6(b). It is that simple.” For witness testimony, see the House Committee on Energy & Commerce.
Have you or a loved one been seriously injured by a defective product? Contact one of our experienced NY product liability lawyers for dedicated representation at 716-631-9999. We have the skills and resources needed to obtain the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free confidential consultation today. Let our experience work for you.