The Commission estimates that last year 150,000 children and adults required hospital emergency room treatment for injuries associated with toys. More than 150,000 different kinds of toys currently deck the nation's toy shelves. During the prime toy purchasing months of October, November and December, the Commission plans information and education efforts to inform consumers about the hazards associated with toys.
Since 1970, about 1,700 toys and other articles used by children have been banned for hazards such as small parts, sharp edges and sharp points. Although it is illegal to sell banned products, last year 990 Consumer Deputies visited 1,400 stores and turned up over 1,200 banned toys.
The Consumer Deputies are not official CPSC employees. They are trained, however, by CPSC staff working out of 14 area offices to use the CPSC Banned Products List to spot potentially dangerous rattles, dolls, mechanical animals and other toys.
When they discover a toy or other article intended for use by children that appears on the banned toy list, they ask the store manager to remove it from sale and to check his supplier to ascertain whether it is a banned hazardous product. Most store managers cooperate in this volunteer compliance effort, and in cases of non-cooperation or suspected violations, CPSC inspectors will make an official visit within a few days.
The Consumer Deputy program started as a pilot project by the Food and Drug Administration. The success of the program encouraged its adoption by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 1973 after it inherited jurisdiction over the Federal Hazardous Substances Act which regulates toys and other articles intended for use by children.
In March, the Commission ran a Consumer Deputy program for Poison Prevention Packaging. About 140 Deputies checked 1,277 retail stores for compliance with regulations requiring child resistant closures for aspirin products and certain kinds of liquid furniture polishes.
Based on its experiences with the previous Consumer Deputy programs that primarily utilized individual volunteers, the Commission this time will focus enlistment on existing consumer groups and women's and other community organizations. Because of the time necessary to train volunteers and to provide follow-up support, CPSC staff hope that working with organized groups will increase the efficiency of the program.
The staff also has simplified organization of the CPSC Banned Products List and the inspection procedures to facilitate easier, faster inspections by the Deputies.
For additional information about toy safety, write to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, D.C. 20207. In the continental United States, call the toll-free hotline 800-638-2772.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.
Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.
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Phone: (301) 504-7908
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