How do we stay safe and keep our families safe when products we use are recalled for safety reasons?
Safety recalls are very important for all of us. Rarely a week, or sometimes even a day, passes without news of some type of consumer product, medical product, medicine, automotive, or food recall.
This week, we learned of the tragic death of actor Anton Yelchin, who’s 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled down his driveway and pinned him against his mailbox. The vehicle was part of a Fiat Chrysler safety recall.
Takata airbags have been installed in tens of millions of U.S. vehicles. This has been widely publicized. Over eight million vehicles have been repaired, but millions have not. Please look at www.safercar.gov to see if your vehicle has a recalled airbag. If so, it will be replaced for free.
Hopefully, manufacturers will make consumers aware of product and safety information when they know of a safety issue. However, this does not always happen. If there is a product registration card, it’s a good idea to register the product online or by mail.
So how do we keep up with product recalls?
There are a number of U.S. Government agencies that have responsibility regarding product recalls. These agencies include the CPSC, the FDA, NHTSA, the Coast Guard and the EPA.
As described on its website, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction.
Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard.
CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products – such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals – contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years. To find CPSC recall notices, visit their website at www.cpsc.gov.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation. In June of 2016 alone, the FDA has issued 64 recalls, market withdrawals and safety alerts regarding different food products. If you’re looking for the latest on food recalls, alerts, and food illness outbreaks, check their website at www.foodsafety.gov.
The FDA also posts consumer information about the most serious medical device recalls. These products are on the list because there is a reasonable chance that they could cause serious health problems or death. Through May 27th, the FDA’s website lists 20 medical device recalls for 2016 and you can see those at http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/ListofRecalls/ucm480134.htm
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation provides recall information, including vehicles and equipment campaigns from 1966 to present. The campaigns include motor vehicle products which experienced a safety-related defect or did not comply with federal motor vehicle safety standards, including motor vehicles and related equipment, child safety and tires.
NHTSA’s website has 23 pages listing defect/non-compliance notices received during the month of April 2016.
Did you know the U.S. Coast Guard investigates consumer complaints about recreational boats and related equipment? Through their website, you can review safety tips, news, recalls, defects, and laws and regulations dealing with recreational boats, including personal watercraft, boat manufacturer installed equipment and boating safety issues.
Finally, the EPA has jurisdiction over recalls involving pesticides, rodenticides and fungicides.
One site that provides links to each of the recalls and safety notices for various agencies: www.recalls.gov. While some of the recalls are national news, many are not. You can sign up for email recall notices with these agencies or follow them via their social media accounts. Even with these tools, it is still not easy to keep up with all of the recalls.
There is no easy answer when it comes to keeping up with all of the safety recalls. If you have a concern or question about a specific product, start with www.recalls.gov and go from there. Due to the many public safety issues and concerns, it is important to be as diligent as possible to protect yourself and your family.