Product Hazards and Recalls

Once Meek Agency Flexes its Muscles, But Likely to Face Pushback Under Trump FairWarining Reports

Once Meek Agency Flexes its Muscles, But Likely to Face Pushback Under Trump

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is trying to change its image, one civil penalty at a time. For decades, the federal agency largely was seen as a doormat with few resources and a toothless enforcement record. But over the past few years, under its chairman, Elliot Kaye, the CPSC has dramatically increased the penalties imposed…

They're Everywhere! FairWarining Investigates

They’re Everywhere!

Big Companies in Legal Scrapes Turn to Science-for-Hire Giant Exponent

The Fall of Icarus is the Greek myth about a youth who gets a pair of wax-and-feather wings but soars too close to the sun–melting the wings and casting him into the sea. In the 1990s, a consulting firm called Failure Analysis Associates ran tongue-in-cheek ads aimed at corporate lawyers that retold the myth as…

Advocacy Groups Tout Product Hazards Database to Give Consumers a Fair Warning FairWarining Reports

Advocacy Groups Tout Product Hazards Database to Give Consumers a Fair Warning

In the years since the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission launched SaferProducts.gov in March 2011, more than 29,000 reports of potentially dangerous products have been filed with the searchable database. Now, five leading consumer groups, have analyzed the data collected on the site, finding that it provides a valuable, but underutilized, resource for anyone buying…

The Loss of a Consumer Champion

The Loss of a Consumer Champion

In Memoriam: Clarence Ditlow The long-time head of the Center for Auto Safety died last week at the age of 72. His passing triggered an outpouring of tributes from colleagues, friends and others, including these: Ben Kelley, board member of the Center for Auto Safety: There are very few activists who deserve the appellation “sui…

Johnson & Johnson Hammered Again in Talc-Ovarian Cancer Verdict of $70 Million FairWarining Reports

Johnson & Johnson Hammered Again in Talc-Ovarian Cancer Verdict of $70 Million

Health care products giant Johnson & Johnson suffered another big legal defeat late Thursday, when a St. Louis jury ordered the company and its talc supplier to pay about $70 million in damages to a woman who blamed her ovarian cancer on the use of talc powders for feminine hygiene. The award marked the third…

Elliot Kaye FairWarining Reports

Furniture Tip-Over Deaths and Injuries Spur Threat of Federal Action

The chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission threatened Wednesday to hit furniture makers with mandatory federal rules if the industry doesn’t strengthen its voluntary standards to prevent its products from tipping over and killing children. “The current standard just does not get the job done and it needs to be revised now,” said…

Miles to Go on Highway Safety

Miles to Go on Highway Safety

The 50th anniversary of federal auto safety regulation approaches, but there’s not much to celebrate. Signing the regulatory laws on Sept. 9, 1966, President Johnson predicted they would “cure the highway disease.”  They haven’t. The “disease” was a deadly pandemic, and still is. The year the laws were passed, some 50,000 people were killed in…

Maker of Drain-Cleaning Fluid Getting Steady Drip of Complaints About Acid Burns FairWarining Reports

Maker of Drain-Cleaning Fluid Getting Steady Drip of Complaints About Acid Burns

On the afternoon of June 30, Michael Taillard and his wife and four kids emerged from the Shop-N-Save in Benzonia, Mich., with a shopping cart full of groceries. On the lower rack sat a 128-ounce bottle of Rooto Professional Drain Opener, a powerful cleaner made almost entirely of sulfuric acid and sold in a protective,…

Even Furniture That Meets Industry Standards Can Tip Over and Kill Kids, Report Says FairWarining Reports

Even Furniture That Meets Industry Standards Can Tip Over and Kill Kids, Report Says

Furniture manufacturers don’t always follow voluntary industry standards designed to prevent tip-overs that can injure and kill children. That was underscored by IKEA’s recent recall of 29 million chests and dressers after the company admitted that many of its products didn’t meet voluntary industry standards and that six children have been killed since 1989 in…

Former Chief of Consumer Agency Testifying for Accused Company FairWarining Reports

Former Chief of Consumer Agency Testifying for Accused Company

As head of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission until 2013, Inez Tenenbaum spoke out about the public health threat that button batteries pose to small children. These days Tenenbaum is serving as an expert witness for Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. in connection with a negligence lawsuit against the discount store chain – a case…