Efforts by federal investigators to keep unsafe products from abroad out of the country are paying off.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says its people stopped nearly three million units of consumer products that violated U.S. safety rules from reaching consumers in the third quarter of fiscal year 2012. That's nearly three times the number of what are termed “violative units” stopped in the previous two quarters combined.
More than 5,700 different imported consumer products were screened in the third quarter, with 420 of them identified as failing to comply with CPSCs safety rules.
From October 2011 through June 2012, CPSC investigators and their U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) counterparts have prevented about four million units of violative and hazardous imported products from entering the U.S. and ending up on store shelves.
Thousands of kids products kept out
According to a joint release issued by CPSC and CBP, during the past four years, at least 2,400 different toys and children's products -- making up more than two million individual units -- have been stopped at the ports because of the presence of safety hazards or the failure to meet federal safety standards.
“Strong standards and vigilant port surveillance have advanced consumer safety by reducing the number of items needing to be recalled from the marketplace,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum.
Toys and children’s products continued to make up the bulk of products stopped by CPSC investigators and CBP officers in the third quarter. Products with levels of lead exceeding federal limits topped the group and were followed by those with phthalate levels in excess of federal limits. Toys and other articles with small parts that present a choking hazard for children younger than three years old rounded out the top three products stopped. A significant number of fireworks being shipped to the U.S. for Independence Day activities nationwide were fourth on the list of total products stopped in the third quarter.
In the first two quarters of fiscal year 2012, CPSC and CBP screened about 6,600 imported products at ports of entry, identified about 560 different consumer products that were in violation of U.S. safety rules or found to be hazardous, and prevented more than one million units of violative or dangerous products from reaching consumers.
CPSC has been screening products at ports since it began operating in 1973. The agency intensified its efforts in 2008 with the creation of an import surveillance division and again in 2011 with the creation of the Office of Import Surveillance.