The Republican-controlled House of Representatives is expected to approve an appropriations bill that would prohibit the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) from spending any funds on the recently launched consumer product safety database mandated under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. Democratic staff of the House Energy and Commerce Committee analyzed information appearing on the database since it went live on March 11, 2011, and concluded that the incident reports are detailed and accurate.
Of the 1,600 incident reports filed between March and June, 11 involved fatalities and 483 involved injuries. Product manufacturers have apparently challenged 202 of the reports, and CPSC accepted more than 75 percent of their claims, removing inaccurate information or not publishing the incident report in the database. The staff report also indicated that hundreds of thousands of consumers have visited the database and conducted nearly 1.8 million product searches. The report concludes, “Efforts by House Republicans to eliminate this database would deprive the public and government officials of critical information needed to improve consumer safety.” Manufacturing interests have complained that insufficient attention is being paid to legitimate issues such as manufacturers’ goodwill and reputation as well as unnecessary consumer panic and use of the information by plaintiffs’ lawyers in litigation.