December 29, 2010 1 Comment
On November 24, 2010, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved a final rule to establish a publicly available consumer product safety information database. The rule, which was approved by a 3-2 vote and will be published in the Federal Register, also establishes how CPSC will work with consumers and manufacturers or private labelers to process and post incident reports on the database. The consumer database will be officially launched in March 2011 as part of the SaferProducts.gov website.
Required by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, the database will allow consumers to go online to SaferProducts.gov and file a report telling CPSC about an incident with an unsafe product or potentially hazardous consumer product. Manufacturers and private labelers will have the opportunity to respond with comments and may request that their comments appear with the report in the database. CPSC will make all of this information visible and searchable online by the public.
Beginning in mid-January 2011, all manufacturers or private labelers of consumer products will be encouraged to pre-register with CPSC to receive timely online access to reports submitted about their products.
At SaferProducts.gov, anyone will be able to search for reports submitted about consumer products along with any comments the manufacturer requests be included. Whether considering a purchase or checking on products already owned, the database is intended to provide consumers information on the products they buy, which can contribute to keeping them and their families safer.
CPSC Commissioners’ statements regarding the approval of this rule : Chairman Inez M. Tenenbaum, Commissioner Thomas H. Moore, and Commissioner Robert S. Adler, Commissioner Nancy Nord and Commissioner Anne M. Northup
Not everyone is happy with the idea of a safe products database. Manufacturers opposed the concept, fearful that unwarranted complaints would harm their business. Industrial sabotage was one of the objections manufacturers raised when the CPSC proposed the database.
As a consumer, the database makes a lot of sense. Using it will require some interpretation and reading between the lines, but isn’t that always the case with any product information? Without a database like this, consumers have to rely on online product reviews. Product review information is scattered across the net, not always easy to find. It is impossible to know who and why someone puts the review there, the background of the writer, how qualified he/she is.
Overall, it is a good idea IMO.