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What Is The Consumer Product Safety Commission?

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission is one of many federal bodies tasked with protecting American consumers. Other safety agencies include the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. The CPSC website explains that the agency monitors all products that may contain certain types of dangerous product defects.

Defects monitored by the CPSA may involve any of the following hazards:

  • Electrical
  • Fire
  • Chemical
  • Mechanical

If products are found to contain any of these defects, the CPSC may issue recalls. In addition, the agency may assist in informing the public about the dangers of those products. Should a distributor, manufacturer or seller fail to satisfy these the CPSC’s standards, the agency may issue fines, recalls and other penalties.

The CPSC was established and provided enforcement authority through federal statutes. The agency was created in 1972 through the Consumer Product Safety Act. This law provides the CPSC with the power to establish administrative regulations. In addition, the CPSA gives the CPSC authority to ban products and issue product recalls.

In 2008, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act was passed, providing the agency with additional regulatory tools. With this increased regulatory authority, the CPSA could address issues related to toy safety, imports, lead and all-terrain vehicles. The CPSIA was changed in 2011, and these amendments gave the CPSC increased discretion and authority over product safety laws.

In addition to its product monitoring and recall duties, the CPSC also engages heavily in educational outreach and research efforts. The agency produces resources for businesses, safety guides and compiles product-related injury statistics.

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