New Product Safety Database Is Up, Manufacturers Are Grumpy

A new consumer product safety information database is up and running where consumers can share information with others about product injuries or failures that could have resulted in injuries.

Consumers can visit to submit reports and search for safety information on products they own or may be considering buying."Through consumers will have open access to product safety information that they have never seen before, and the information will empower them to make safer choices," U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Inez Tenenbaum said in a statement.

(In the video below, See Chairman Tenenbaum talk a bit about the databasein an interview with Consumer Ally earlier this year.)

Reporting product safety incidents through this new website will help the commission identify hazards more quickly and provide consumers with safety information on products in and around the home, Tenenbaum said.

Here's how operates: The commission will review online reports and send them to businesses within five days. Manufacturers have 10 days to respond and provide comments. At the end of the 10-day period, the consumer report and manufacturer's comments will be posted.

Consumer groups applauded the database's launch.

"Consumers will no longer be left in the dark about product safety -- they will now have access to life saving information," Rachel Weintraub, director of product safety for the Consumer Federation of America, said in a statement. "The CPSC will also be able to more nimbly identify and act upon safety hazards. The database carefully balances the need to bring safety complaints to light, while also allowing manufacturers to review submissions and provide comments."

Among other groups supporting the database are Kids in Danger, Public Citizen and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

Meanwhile, manufacturers who oppose the database have taken their objections to Congress where some members are trying to kill the database through budget cuts.

In January, the commission began registering businesses online and accepting reports to test the system. Since then, consumers have filed about 1,500 reports. About 1,400 manufacturers have signed up so they can receive a copy of a report about their product by email. Reports accepted during the test period won't be visible to the public but are being processed internally by the agency.

The commission will continue to accept written, phone and fax reports.

Reports received now will be searchable by consumers about April 1. Until then, only commission recall information will be available.
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