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CPSC Celebrates 50 Years of Making Consumer Safety our Mission

Release Date: March 15, 2022

“CPSC: For 50 Years Your Safety is Our Mission”  - Join the Celebration #CPSC50

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is marking its 50th anniversary in 2022.  For the past five decades, CPSC has worked to protect the American public from dangerous and deadly consumer products. Over the course of this year, the agency will honor the trailblazers who started the agency, recognize current employees for their hard work, contributions, and dedication to advancing product safety, invite the public to participate in advancing product safety, and explore CPSC’s planned work to increase consumer safety in the future.

“While October 27th is the exact date of the Commission’s 50th anniversary, we will be celebrating the agency’s important work on behalf of the public throughout this year,” said Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric. “We believe there is value in recognizing the significant strides for safety CPSC has taken in reducing deaths and injuries from the products in our homes. This history will continue to help guide us on our journey to a world with far fewer preventable deaths and injuries associated with consumer products.”

Every year consumer products are involved in thousands of deaths and millions of injuries. In recent years, there were nearly 51,000 deaths (2019) and 28.5 million medically treated injuries (2020) associated with consumer products.

CPSC regulates thousands of types of consumer products ranging from kitchen appliances to children’s toys to exercise equipment. As a result of CPSC’s efforts, mandatory safety standards and the enforcement of existing federal laws related to unsafe products, the agency has reported decreases in the number of consumer product-related fatalities and a significant reduction of injuries, involving young children and adults. The following data highlights some results from these efforts: 

  • Refrigerators: Deaths from refrigerator door entrapments are nearly eliminated. Ninety-six (96) children died due to being trapped and suffocating in refrigerators between 1973 and 1984.  During the last 25 years, there have been two reported deaths. The most recent occurred 15 years ago in 2007. The Refrigerator Safety Act was enacted in 1956.
  • Garage Doors: From 1982 to 1990, there were 46 garage door deaths involving children. In the past decade there have been only two such reported deaths. CPSC put a mandatory safety standard into place in 1991.
  • Fires: A 43% decline in residential fires, a 47% decline in fire deaths, and a 41% decline in fire injuries from 1980 to 2018.
  • Cribs: Nearly an 80% decrease in crib deaths from 1973 to 2018. CPSC’s mandatory safety standard for cribs took effect in 2011.
  • Baby walkers: A major decline of 88% in baby walker associated injuries. In 1992, these types of injuries resulted in over 25,000 visits to the emergency room, with visits dropping to an estimated 3,100 in 2020. CPSC issued mandatory safety standards in 2010.
  • Child poisonings: A decrease of 80% for pediatric poisonings for children under age 5 between 1972 and 2020. The Poison Prevention Packaging Act (PPPA) was enacted in 1970.
  • Bicycles: Between 1973 and 2020, there was a 35% decline in the rate of bicycle injuries per 100,000 Americans. CPSC’s mandatory bicycle safety regulations took effect in 1976.
  • Pools: From 1975 to 2019, in-ground swimming pools and equipment injury rate per 100,000 Americans decreased by 55%.  The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act was enacted in 2007.

The Consumer Product Safety Act was enacted into law on October 27, 1972, and signed by President Richard M. Nixon. This landmark piece of legislation established CPSC, an independent federal regulatory agency and authorized CPSC to develop standards, pursue recalls, and ban certain products. The agency was given authority to tackle consumer product hazards with a bi-partisan board of five commissioners.  

Starting today CPSC is unveiling new videos providing historical perspective of consumer product protections over the last 50 years.

Despite many advances in consumer safety, more needs to be done during the next 50 years. CPSC is continuing its work to prevent pool and spa drownings, which is the number one killer of young children; reduce deaths related to carbon monoxide (CO) from portable generators, which claims the lives of nearly 80 people every year; and emphasizing our Safe Sleep campaign by focusing on mitigating or eliminating product risks to small children in their sleeping environments. Protecting the public from hidden hazards has always been, and will continue to be, a high priority for the agency. 

CPSC conducts research on potentially hazardous products and alerts the public by issuing recalls with remedies available to consumers including repairs, replacement products and refunds. This information is readily available and accessible on our website at www.cpsc.gov.  Consumers can also visit www.saferproducts.gov to report unsafe consumer products in their homes or read the experiences of other consumers involving potentially hazardous consumer products. 

CPSC is headquartered in Bethesda, MD, with a national product testing and evaluation facility located in Rockville, MD. Agency field officers are stationed across the country in addition to the CPSC’s personnel who staff our country’s largest ports of entry. The agency currently operates with a staff of approximately 539 dedicated personnel.

Stay up to date on CPSC’s 50th Anniversary. Watch for activities and outreach events throughout the year. For more information on CPSC’s 50th Anniversary and consumer safety over the past 50 years, visit our website at https://www.cpsc.gov/50th-Anniversary 

 

Release Number
22-098

About the U.S. CPSC
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related 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 injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years. 

Federal law prohibits any person from selling products subject to a Commission ordered recall or a voluntary recall undertaken in consultation with the CPSC.

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