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8,000 Deaths A Year Caused By Unsafe Products, CPSC Tells Congress

Federal safety officials indicate that consumer products on the market in the United States cause or contribute to about 8,000 fatalities each year, highlighting the importance of regulatory efforts designed to protect consumers and save lives. 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued its 2017 Annual Report last week, outlining the number of consumer product-related deaths, injuries and emergency department visits for Congress. The report summarizes the products most prone to cause harm to consumers and where better regulation is needed.

CPSC researchers collected national data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia,a and found that about 8,000 individuals were killed last year in consumer product related incidents. Dividing products into 15 categories, researchers found that Sports and Recreational Activities and Equipment accounted for nearly 1,500 fatalities and Home Furnishings and Fixtures accounted for nearly 1,200 fatalities.

Children under the age of five were found to account for nearly 40 percent of all fatalities related to home furnishing items, many of which can be attributed to furniture tip-over incidents, which the CPSC has been combating with recalls and new manufacturing standards in recent years.

Researchers warn that the number of actual fatalities is likely much higher than those reported. The CPSC tracks consumer-product related deaths by purchasing death certificates the agency suspects involve product-related incidents. However, the certificates often fail to indicate the product that was involved, and some death certificates are unavailable for purchase.

The agency reviewes data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) to identify product-associated injuries and found that a sample from 100 hospitals across the United States recorded more than 400,000 product-related cases.

Emergency room injury data from October 2016 through September 2017 showed more than 4 million injuries related to Sports and Recreational Activities and Equipment, roughly 4.5 million injuries related to Home Structures and Construction Materials and more than 3.3 million injuries related to Home Furnishings and Fixtures.

The CPSC issues more than 300 recalls on average every year and is tasked with identifying products that may cause harm to individuals in the U.S. market.

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