Over the past few years it seems that tainted products that could be dangerous to your health have been popping up left and right. From packaged spinach and tomatoes to toy trinkets made of lead and pet food tainted with melamine, households across the nation were kept busy checking refrigerators and toy boxes to make certain family members were kept safe from harm. With our new "global economy," an ever-increasing number of products sold in the United States are being produced in foreign countries. Although the company marketing the product in the United States may be adhering to government safety guidelines by setting stringent specifications for the foreign productions facility, dangerous situations can occur. Whether or not the error is intentional, the end result is the same and a tainted and/or unsafe product can make its way onto the shelves of department stores and supermarkets across the country.
Fortunately for consumers, the United States government has most product safety areas covered by one of its many departments. Through various monitoring processes and rapid public notification in the form of "product recalls," government agencies can get the word out quickly to consumers thereby preventing illnesses, injuries, and potential deaths.
With so many governmental agencies each covering a specific area of the products sold in the United States, it used to be a cumbersome job for a consumer to check on the safety guidelines or recall status for a particular food item, drug, or product. Recently, the United States government consolidated the resources of many of its monitoring agencies and made them easily accessible to consumers through one website—www.recalls.gov. By accessing the website, you can check for product safety information, find recall alerts, and report dangerous or defective products. The six government agencies include: the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), United States Coast Guard (USCG), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). By making all of the agencies accessible through one website, the government has streamlined communications with the public and has improved interagency information sharing—all in an effort to improve public safety and security.
Learning a bit more about the areas covered by each agency will help ease the search for information on a particular product. The six main agencies and their jurisdictions are as follows:
Consumer Product Safety Commission—The CPSC is responsible for protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products including products for children, toys, household products, outdoor products, sports and recreation products, and specialty products.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—NHTSA, a department of the United States Department of Transportation, provides recall information on vehicle and equipment campaigns from 1966 to the present. Campaigns include motor vehicle products which experienced a safety-related defect or did not comply with federal motor vehicle safety standards including; motor vehicles and related equipment, child safety seats, and tires.
United States Coast Guard—The USCG investigates consumer complaints about recreational boats (including personal watercraft), boat manufacturer installed equipment, boating safety issues, and related equipment.
Food and Drug Administration—The FDA has jurisdiction over recalls involving drugs, vaccines, medical devices, blood and plasma products, veterinary products, and cosmetics, as well as food and pet and farm animal feed and other biological items.
United States Department of Agriculture—The USDA inspects and regulates meat, poultry products, and eggs.
Environmental Protection Agency—The EPA deals with the nation's environmental science, research, and education matters. The EPA has jurisdiction over fungicides, pesticides, rodenticides, and vehicle emissions testing.
By simply visiting the www.recalls.gov website you can enter a product type or name under any of the appropriate department categories and search for information regarding safety standards and recall information. You may also access the appropriate governmental agency where you will find instructions about how to file a complaint regarding a harmful or defective product.
So the next time you have a safety concern about a child's safety seat, question the age-appropriateness of a toy with small pieces, or hear about health concerns connected with a food item, make your government work for you. Utilize the resources made available to you by www.recalls.gov and find the latest and most accurate information to help keep you and your family safe and healthy!
Articles are provided for the general interest of our readers. Gerber Life Insurance is not responsible for any content and recommends that you consult the appropriate professional with any questions or concerns you may have concerning any financial or health related issues.
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