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CPSC 101 — What is the Consumer Product Safety Commission?

08
May

In the world of compliance, there are a number of private and government agencies that work to keep products safe for the consumer. One of the more important ones to be aware of is the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). 

Whether you are a manufacturer, importer or retailer, you may work with the CPSC at one time or another for the ongoing compliance of your stuffed articles. In this article we’ll discuss what the CPSC is, what they do, and what you should do if one of your products is recalled by the CPSC.

What is the CPSC?

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is an independent federal agency responsible for protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with consumer products, including but not limited to stuffed articles. 

The CPSC’s mission is to reduce the number of hazardous products in the marketplace, to prevent injuries and deaths from unsafe products, and to promote the safety of consumer products. 

What does the CPSC do?

The CPSC works closely with manufacturers, importers, retailers, and other stakeholders in the product supply chain to establish and enforce product safety standards, to recall unsafe products, and to educate consumers about the potential risks and hazards associated with consumer products. 

The CPSC also maintains a comprehensive database of product safety information, conducts product testing and research, and investigates potential product hazards and incidents. 

Establish and enforce product safety standards

As a government agency, the CPSC works with Congress through the Office of Legislative Affairs to introduce legislation around product safety. They advise lawmakers to set standards that keep consumers safe, and are often responsible for new laws getting passed.

As an example for stuffed articles, the CPSC determines what fillings can and cannot be used and in what quantities. This keeps potentially hazardous materials out of stuffed articles that would otherwise put the public at risk.

Investigates potential product hazards

The CPSC maintains a website called saferproducts.gov where consumers can report potentially unsafe products directly to the CPSC. Those reports are reviewed by the CPSC’s investigators and product safety experts, who will then take action against the product in question.

Potential outcomes of those investigations may include a product recall, legal repercussions for the manufacturer, importer or retailer of the product, or the creation of new safety regulations to prevent further unsafe products from reaching the market.

Product testing and certification

To stay ahead of unsafe products entering the market, the CPSC offers resources for businesses to understand and uphold safety regulations at the manufacturing and importing level. Testing and certification processes let businesses tackle compliance issues as early as possible.

If you are a manufacturer, importer or retailer of consumer products including stuffed articles, you can get support from the CPSC’s business and manufacturing page.

Product recalls and safety database

If the CPSC investigates a report and the product in question is ultimately deemed unsafe, the CPSC will initiate a product recall. The CPSC will work with the responsible organization on a corrective action plan that may include the return of the product to the manufacturer or retailer and public notice of the hazard.

When a product is recalled, the CPSC makes note of the hazard in their recall database which is available to the public. The database informs the consumer of the hazard, the remedy to the problem, and contact information for the responsible organization.

You can browse the full list of consumer product recalls on the CPSC recall database.

What do I do if the CPSC reports my product as unsafe?

Don’t worry — the CPSC gives businesses the opportunity to respond if your product has been labeled as potentially dangerous. If you are a manufacturer, importer or retailer, you will receive a notification from the CPSC informing you of the product in question and the potential hazard it poses.

Any business can communicate directly with the CPSC to resolve the potential safety issue. If you are a GRS customer and need testing or legal support, our team can connect you with one of our industry partners who provide those services. 

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