Release date: November 17, 1999
Release number: 00-018

Release Details

CPSC today kicks off a national campaign to alert the public that many thrift stores are selling hazardous products that have been recalled, banned or do not meet current safety standards. From May through September 1999, CPSC visited 301 randomly selected thrift stores nationwide. CPSC's study found that 69 percent were selling at least one hazardous product. The top three products found were children's jackets and sweatshirts with drawstrings presenting a strangulation hazard, hairdryers that do not protect against electrocution and cribs that do not meet current safety standards.

Each year, CPSC recalls 250 to 300 hazardous products. CPSC gets recalled products off retail shelves, but cannot go into consumers' homes and remove them. Recalled products end up being donated or sold in the second-hand goods market, including thrift stores.

"The products found pose a danger of death or serious injury to consumers," said CPSC Chairman Ann Brown. "Many consumers and thrift store operators may be unaware of recalls, bans and current safety standards of products offered for sale in the stores."

CPSC found that thrift stores nationwide, including those run by national organizations and local and independent stores, sell the following hazardous products:

- 51 percent sell children's jackets and sweatshirts with drawstrings, presenting a strangulation hazard.

- 20 percent sell hair dryers without protection against electrocution.

- 12 percent sell cribs that do not meet current federal and voluntary safety standards, presenting risks including entrapment and strangulation.

- 10 percent sell recalled halogen torchiere floor lamps without wire or glass guards, presenting a fire hazard.

- 7 percent sell recalled play yards and playpens with protruding hardware or collapsible top rails, presenting a strangulation hazard.

- 4 percent sell recalled car seat carriers with handles that can unexpectedly disengage, causing the seat to flip forward and injure infants.

- 3 percent sell recalled toy basketball sets with nets that present a strangulation hazard to children.

- About 1 percent sell other hazardous products including banned lawn darts, recalled cedar chests and recalled bean bag chairs, all of which present injury and death hazards to children.

CPSC is seeking a commitment from thrift stores to stop selling hazardous products. To help accomplish this, CPSC has prepared a Thrift Store Checklist for thrift stores and shoppers.

The checklist includes information on how to contact CPSC to check on product recalls, bans and current safety standards. The checklist can be used as a guide when shopping at thrift stores. Thrift store owners and managers should use the checklist before accepting donations, consignments or purchasing inventory for the store.

Anyone who purchases a second-hand product should check with CPSC to determine if it has been banned, recalled or violates current safety standards, and to get information on the appropriate remedy. To receive recall notices directly, sign up for instant email notices at our web site www.cpsc.gov

Product and
Hazard Type

(i.e. Thrift store has: )

Study Counts
(stores in study=301)

National Estimates
(stores in country=9,547)

Number of Stores with Product

Number of Products Found in Stores

Estimate of Number Of Stores with Product

Percent of Stores with Product

Estimate of Number of Products in Thrift Stores

Drawstrings around the hood or neck of children's outerwear:

Strangulation hazard

155

1,047

4,916

51.4%

32,810

Hair dryers without protection against electrocution:

Electrocution hazard

64

130

1,897

19.8%

3,359

Cribs that do not meet current safety standard:

Entrapment hazard

34

44

1,175

12.3%

1,462

Halogen torchiere floor lamps without wire guards:

Fire hazard

32

64

989

10.3%

1,092

Recalled play yards/playpens with protruding rivets or rotating top rails:

Strangulation and entrapment hazard

20

28

670

7.0%

954

Recalled infant car seat carriers:

Fall hazard

12

16

399

4.2%

534

Recalled toy basketball nets:

Strangulation hazard

8

10

250

2.6%

311

FINDINGS OF STUDY

Media Contact

Please use the below phone number for all media requests.

Phone: (301) 504-7908
Spanish: (301) 504-7800

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