It feels like almost every day we see a headline that talks about a product recall. Whether it affects us or not, there’s something scary about knowing that a company made millions of dangerous cars, foods or other products that were available to the public.
It might be even scarier to know that some product recalls don’t start immediately after they cause an injury or death. What causes this lack of action – and, more importantly – what should you do about it?
One federal law makes recalls less common
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is supposed to notify the public about defective products when they realize that there is an issue with them – but one part of the law makes that difficult. The agency must obtain permission from a manufacturer before they may publish their name in a report on a product injury.
Companies do not want their names associated with controversy – so most manufacturers do not give permission to publish their names. Because of this law it is difficult to determine whether there is a trend showing that one specific manufacturer is causing injuries.
Life-threatening hazardous items are sold for years
One such product was a baby sleeper that caused 32 infant deaths over several years. The CPSC knew that this one sleeper was causing babies to suffocate – but word only got out when they accidentally published the name of the manufacturer, Fisher-Price. After the leak, public pressure led to Fisher Price recalling the sleeper.
Other large companies such as Ikea have caused similar situations. There were reports of deaths and injuries as early as 1989 because of some Ikea defectively designed dressers, but Ikea didn’t recall them until 2016. Since the CPSC can’t publish information identifying who is making the products, there is little pressure for the manufacturer to act.
The law preventing the CPSC from releasing names without permission leaves the safety of all products in doubt. If you were injured by a defective product – whether it has been recalled or not – an experienced products liability attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve.