Consumer Products in the United States are regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). There have been several recalls of consumer products during 2009, and the following are some of the most significant.
Children’s Items Containing Lead in Paint
Large numbers of toys and children’s clothing continue to be recalled because of excessive levels of lead in paint, despite the recent media coverage over this problem. The media spotlight was on China, which exported numerous products into the U.S. that exceeded federal safety regulations for lead levels. Although there were no reports of injury or death connected with these recalls, lead poisoning creates a latent onset of injury, meaning that it will take time for injuries to develop.
Children’s Clothing with Drawstrings
The largest number of different individual brands recalled this past year was children’s clothing with drawstrings at the waist or around the hood. Fourteen years ago, the CPSC developed basic non-mandatory guidelines by which children’s clothing with drawstrings should meet. While not mandatory, the CPSC announced four years ago that any product not meeting the basic requirements would be considered "defective." Federal law also requires that any company that sells children’s clothing to report any items they make that has a drawstring at the hood or waist. Sixteen different brands of children’s clothing with drawstrings was recalled in 2009.
Dangerous Toys and Playgrounds
In July of 2009, the CPSC announced a recall of one-million play yards distributed by Kolcraft. The play yard had a defective side rail that often failed to properly latch, allowing children to push open the rail and fall. There were 21 injuries, and 347 reported incidents in connection with the play yards. In August of 2009, the CPSC also announced a recall involving 1.6 million Children’s Workshop Sets and Trucks, because of a choking hazard from one of the parts. The CPSC also announced a recall of 4 million inflatable baby floats because of a drowning risk. There were 31 reports of the baby float’s straps tearing, causing children to fall into the water.
300,000 units were recalled this year by Chenille Apparel. The CPSC received reports of nine deaths of people wearing Chenille Apparel items, because some of the items failed to meet federal guidelines for flammability.