Due to the weather, some customers may experience late delivery of The Roanoke Times. We apologize for the delay.
Saturday, July 20, 2013
Consumers are constantly being bombarded with information about the products we buy. Ads promoting products are everywhere and it seems new warnings about the dangers of other products are popping up all the time. It’s easy to become desensitized to it all, but that can be unsafe when it comes to product recalls.
Patty Davis, spokeswoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the government agency charged with protecting the public from risks that could be associated with products under its jurisdiction (this includes many products used around your home and in sports, recreation and schools) said that the government agency announces more than 300 recalls every year.
Combine that with the hundreds of recalls issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and we have a lot of potential hazards to safeguard ourselves against.
Recalls.gov is a great resource if you’re concerned about a product you own or are considering purchasing . This site explains which products fall under the jurisdiction of which government agency and includes important links and contact information for each.
If you’re concerned about your vehicle, search for the problem with the NHSTA. If you’re considering buying a boat, check out the USCG’s list of recalls. The EPA has jurisdiction over recalls involving pesticides, rodenticides, fungicides and vehicle emission testing.
The USDA announces recalls on recalls on meat, poultry and egg products, and the FDA is in charge of recalling other food as well as pet food, animal feed, medications and cosmetics.
Between each of the six agencies, someone is keeping an eye on everything you see as a shopper.
“We actually recommend that consumers do an inventory of their homes,” Davis said. “It’s good to start with your child’s toy box and look up the toys to see if they’ve been recalled.” Toys are one of the most commonly recalled products by the CPSC.
Problems also recorded
While the thought of looking up everything you purchase or own is daunting, it can be easy to stay in the loop about product recalls.
You can search for specific products on each government agency’s website or browse lists. There are also phone apps that can help you stay notified on the go.
The CPSC has its own app, and on the app Recalls.gov you can find information about recalls from the CPSC, FDA, USDA and NHTSA. If you’d like information to be delivered straight to your inbox, you can sign up for email alerts from those four agencies as well.
In addition to reading about current recalls, consumers are also encouraged report hazardous products on each of these government websites. One useful aspect of the CPSC website is that consumers can share information about any hazardous incidents that happen with a product even if it has not yet been recalled.
Before you purchase your child a new toy or consider a new appliance , Davis recommends checking not only to see if the product has been recalled but to see if anyone has reported incidents.
“Previously consumers weren’t able to do that. It’s something brand new and it’s a real aid for consumers as they look to buy products or find out if products they own are safe,” she said.
If a product you own has been recalled it’s important to read the recall report released by the appropriate government agency.
Each government agency negotiates with the manufacturer to find the best remedy for the consumer. The remedy will come in the form of a replacement product, a refund or a repair. The next step varies with each recall.
For example, sometimes you will have to contact the manufacturer, sometimes you can just return the product to a store and sometimes you’ll receive a check in the mail. Whatever you do, don’t keep a recalled product in your home.
“Products are recalled for a reason and they may be dangerous for your or your child,” Davis explained. “It’s important to act when you see a recall.”
On the blog:
Find these posts and more at blogs.roanoke.com/shoptimist
Weather JournalMany very icy despite 'bust' claims