Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Days away from launch, public safety database still faces threats.


The database CPSC has been working on for two and a half years is days away from launch. It will go live on Friday, March 11. CPSC has carefully crafted the site to both solicit important safety information from consumers and encourage accurate reporting. The database will provide consumers with a place to report injury and safety information and provide consumers, researchers and the CPSC with important information on injury trends and emerging hazards.

The CPSC did a soft launch of the database last month. That just means it was live, but the information wasn't made public. The results? 900 reports -- only four were 'materially inaccurate.' And two of those had the wrong manufacturer listed and were easily corrected. One manufacturer/importer at ICPHSO last week said that of the 50 reports they got, 90% agreed to give the manufacturer their contact information, providing a way to verify the information. Some manufacturers told us they didn't receive any reports during the month, others that they had a few and all were reasonable reports of a consumer's experience. So perhaps the sky won't fall next week after all.

But that doesn't stop the attacks. After all, for years manufacturers have been able to hide virtually all injury reports from the public. The status quo means consumers continue to use products that have been involved in numerous injuries or even deaths. The sunshine the database brings means more educated consumers and ultimately, safer products.

The House adopted an amendment to the Continuing Resolution they sent to the Senate that defunds the database -- a move that wastes the money already spent rather than saving money and is designed to stop injury data from coming to light.

If you haven't already contacted your US Senators, please do so and urge them to oppose any "Keep American Families in the Dark" efforts to stop the database.

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