When we buy a product from a store, we assume those products are safe and won’t cause us or our families harm. Unfortunately, many manufacturers don’t prioritize the safety of their customers and produce items that may be hazardous. Recognizing this peril, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) was created in 1972 as an impetus to protect the consumer.
This singular government agency became responsible for establishing regulations and enforcing laws enacted to regulate the safety of goods sold in the United States. Prior to the establishment of this agency, there was no one entity responsible for monitoring the safety of these products. Instead, there were four separate governmental agencies in charge of four separate types of goods. The result was in a weak and haphazard system, unable to focus on consumer safety. The CPSC was the solution.
The CPSC is responsible for creating regulations designed to protect the public from injury or death that can result from using more than 15,000 types of products sold in the U.S. Yet some manufacturers, distributors and retailers routinely ignore these regulations, particularly in the area of children’s clothing.
Flammability standards are particularly important. Initially promulgated in 1953 through The Flammable Fabrics Act, these regulations establish standards by which highly flammable clothing is manufactured. Yet despite having these regulations in place for sixty years, in 2013 more than 659,000 children’s pajamas were recalled because they failed to meet the CPSC’s flammability regulations. More than half a million had been sold at Target. In 2014, the number of recalls dropped to a mere 2,410 which could reflect an increase in supply chain awareness of the flammability regulations. Or, it may reflect the absence of a single large recall campaign such as Target’s. If so, that means there was actually an increase in the annual number of children’s pajamas recalled due to violating the flammability standards. However, in 2015 the number of recalls went up to 259,000 pajamas, highlighting manufacturers’ continual disregard of CPSC regulations.
This is an unacceptable number of dangerous consumer products on the market that could cause harm to children. The alarming number of violations by manufactures shows the repeated failure of manufacturers, distributors and retailers to follow the regulations established by the CPSC.
The CPSC functions as a regulator of the safety of products on the market and it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to abide by these safety regulations. Since they have continually shown through millions of product recalls that they are unable to do so, as the customer, it is vitally important to check the CPSC website to make sure you don’t own any of the hazardous products on its recall list. If so, take the pajamas back to the place of purchase and request a refund.
However, some companies are stepping up and making an effort to inform the public about some of their own product recalls. Seattle-based company, Zulily, has taken initiative to notify their customers of a recall of about 450 pajamas that do not meet federal flammability standards. Zulily is setting a great example of how a retailer can take responsibility and spread awareness about a hazardous product on the market.