Writer: Brian Joseph

Consumer Protection

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 [...]

Consumer Protection

A Moving Story

Gwen Caplan’s nightmare began with a Yelp search. It was the summer of 2012 and the middle-aged mother of two was looking for someone to move her and her kids from San Rafael, Calif., to Glendale, Ariz. Money was tight, so Caplan scoured the web for an affordable but reputable [...]

Consumer Protection

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

(iStock photo) 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 [...]

Consumer Protection

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

Elliot Kaye, chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. 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 [...]

Consumer Protection

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

A bottle of Rooto Professional Drain Opener. (Brian Joseph/FairWarning) 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 [...]

Consumer Protection

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

Nancy Cowles, executive director of Kids in Danger 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 [...]

Consumer Protection

Former Chief of Consumer Agency Testifying for Accused Company

Inez Tenenbaum, former head of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission) 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 [...]

Consumer Protection

IKEA Agrees to Massive Recall of Chests Linked to Tipover Deaths of Young Children

iStock photo See editor's note at the bottom of the story. IKEA, the home furnishings giant, announced today that it is recalling about 180 models of chests and dressers that it admitted do not meet voluntary industry safety standards, including the popular MALM-style dresser, which has killed three [...]


Report Cites Large Inventory of Carcinogens in Peoples’ Bodies

iStock Photo As many as 420 known or suspected carcinogens have been found in human populations through monitoring studies conducted across the globe, according to a first-of-its-kind literature review released today by the Environmental Working Group. “The array of carcinogens detected in humans is alarming,” says the report [...]

Consumer Protection

Growing Momentum for Self-Driving Cars Worries Safety Advocates

Many of the self-driving cars in Google's fleet are converted Lexus SUVs. (Kim Kulish/Corbis via Getty Images) On Valentine's Day in Silicon Valley, one of Google's experimental, self-driving cars sideswiped a city bus at 2 miles an hour. The incident marked the first time an autonomous car contributed [...]