The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently launched the database mandated by Congress to allow consumers to search for or submit complaints about the safety of certain products. will provide public access to the injury and death reports and hazard complaints that CPSC has gathered for years. As of March 11, 2011, consumers were able to file reports on the site and browse product recalls. Consumer complaints will be accepted for all consumer products except food, drugs, cosmetics, cars, and guns.

The database provides consumers with an outlet to submit reports of harm or risks of harm that are “true and accurate to the best of their knowledge,” according to CPSC. After reviewing all online reports, the commission will have five business days to transfer qualifying reports to manufacturers for a response. Although the database is currently considered live, reports submitted by consumers will not be available until early April because of a 10-day response period provided to manufacturers.

“I believe an informed consumer is an empowered consumer,” CPSC Chair Inez Tenenbaum said. “The ability for parents and consumers to search this database for incidents involving a product they already own or are thinking of purchasing will enable them to make independent decisions aimed at keeping their family safe.” See The New York Times, March 10, 2011; CPSC News Release, March 11, 2011.