At Birth Injury Guide, we know how important it is for your family to be informed. When products that your family buys are dangerous or defective, you need to know. The recent outrage about delayed recalls and infant deaths has our birth injury attorney more concerned than ever.
Birth Injury Attorney Addresses Delayed Recalls
It seems that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has failed to strike a balance between the threat of lawsuits from manufacturers and its obligation to public safety. The CPSC is a federal agency whose mission is to regulate consumer products and to keep the public informed of hazards.
However, manufacturers regularly take years to announce a dangerous product recall, even though the CPSC knows the dangers of the product and the name of the manufacturer. Meanwhile, consumers may be suffering or even dying. As a birth injury attorney, this is incredibly frustrating.
To see families suffering needlessly is heartbreaking and infuriating.
The Law that Restricts the CPSC
Most people assume that if there is a death or serious injury associated with a product, and the government knows about it, that the information would be made public. At least, it should be consistently reported by regulatory fundamentals agencies, right?
Surprisingly, that is not the case. The CPSC is governed by a Reagan-era law that prohibits them from revealing the name of the manufacturer of a dangerous or defective product to the public without the manufacturer’s permission. To put it another way, in most cases the makers of a dangerous product can continue to remain anonymous while their product is available for sale and actively marketed.
Even if the CPSC knows the risks and has reports of injuries or deaths, there is little done to protect consumers.
It seems a little counter-intuitive that a government regulatory agency responsible for protecting the public would be subject to such a seemingly pro-business law. Consumer Reports interviewed a former chairman of the CPSC who defended the law, known as Section 6B. The former chairman suggested that it is important for businesses to have an opportunity to review the agency’s safety concerns before any possibly reputation-damaging reports reach the public.
Consumer Reports also talked to some current members of the federal agency who strongly disagree. The current feeling in the agency is that Section 6B is bad for the consumer. Furthermore, the law allows for companies to count the cost of a recall and make a profit-driven decision instead of deferring to a government agency who will step in and regulate in the interest of public safety. One person of this mindset went so far as to say,
“People die because of Section 6B. It is that simple.”
A Restriction Unique to the CPSC
Other federal agencies are not bound by the same restrictions. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can publicly disclose the names of companies or distributors in safety warnings or recalls without permission first. The FDA does work collaboratively with businesses often, but they have the full power to submit notices to the public that make full disclosure of the name of the company or other at-fault parties
Similarly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has the prerogative to share with the public what they know about dangerous automotive products. Consumer Reports quoted their own vice president of advocacy and former acting administrator of the NHTSA who called Section 6B “a dangerous anomaly.”
Birth Injury Attorney Believes Delayed Recalls Hurt Consumers
At Birth Injury Guide, we believe that delayed recalls hurt consumers. As a birth injury lawyer, I know too well the devastation families experience when a child suffers harm. The fact that our regulatory agencies are not doing more to protect consumers is outrageous.
The restrictions in Section 6B force the CPSC to engage in lengthy negotiations with manufacturers about any concerns. These negotiations can take years. In the meantime, there is a federal agency that is aware of the danger. Despite knowledge that a product could maim or kill you or a family member, it cannot warn you.
Even in the limited circumstances in which the CPSC could take their safety concerns public and name a company without permission, the agency often chooses not to do so for fear of lawsuits. Their rationale is fighting legal battles reduces their capacity to perform their function for public safety. Therefore, it is best to avoid them.
As a birth injury attorney, I can certainly appreciate the appeal of skirting liability, but what is opaque is why a federal regulatory agency would value their balance sheet over their mission.
3 Dangerous Products the CPSC Knew About
- Fisher Price Rock n Play Sleeper – Birth Injury Guide has discussed the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play recall and related infant deaths. We have continued to cover the ensuing outrage over the recall delay, and even the proposed legislation it inspired. Far worse than a few incidents, Fisher-Price’s sleeper is responsible for the deaths of 30 infants who suffocated while sleeping. These reports were initially hidden, and the recall took years.
- Ikea Dressers – Ikea dressers caused seven deaths and more than a dozen crush injuries. Consumers reported injuries as early as 1989, but the CPSC said nothing. The dresser recall finally took place in 2016.
- BOB Gear (Britax) Jogging Strollers – 97 children and adults have been injured by the strollers. Though the company has offered a supposed repair, the strollers are still on the market. The CPSC knew about the injuries for seven years before Britax gave permission to disclose their name.
What Can I Do to Keep my Family Safe from Dangerous Products?
Consumer Reports is calling for the repeal of Section 6B, but the wheels of legislation move slowly. In the meantime, Consumers can contribute to transparency by reporting adverse events they experience from products. As a birth injury attorney, I recommend that consumers do the following:
- Report product-related injuries to the retailer.
- Return the product to the place of purchase.
- Report your injuries to the manufacturer (be specific and include documentation).
- Report any injuries to the CPSC (include information about your injuries and reports to the manufacturer).
If you are battling an injury due to a dangerous or defective product, I recommend contacting a personal injury attorney. As you can see, product manufacturers are slow to admit errors or take liability for their deficiencies. Having an attorney on your side can help you understand your legal rights and the options you may have.
Want More Information? Our Birth Injury Attorney Can Help
If you have questions about a birth injury or a defective infant product, Birth Injury Guide can help. Our birth injury attorney is skilled in personal injury matters relating to pregnancy, labor and delivery, birth complications, defective products, and wrongful death.
If you have questions about your legal rights, contact us by calling 1-877-415-6603. You can also request a free consultation by contacting us online.