Consumer products are all products and materials purchased by the general public. From the grocery store to online retailers, consumer products make up the bulk of items we rely upon in our daily lives. Unfortunately, the majority of injuries that send adults and children to the hospital are related to consumer products. Be aware of potential risks in order to avoid injury and even death.
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Last modified on: May 9th, 2020
Written by: Jhon2
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According to the CDC, 214,000 people die annually and more than 27 million people require emergency room care due to injuries caused by consumer products. In addition to the overall risk to individual health and safety, the cost of treatment for injuries due to consumer products is a grave consideration. In 2013, customers spent more than $671 billion dollars in healthcare costs associated with consumer products. In fact, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the U.S. spends more than $1 trillion annually on injuries and deaths related to unsafe consumer products. That means that many individuals are paying a significant amount of money on preventable healthcare costs.
The exceptionally high number of deaths and injuries related to consumer products necessitates regulation and oversight by a number of governmental agencies. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) was created in 1972 in order to regulate consumer products. The CPSC obtains data relating to customer safety from hospitals and consumer reports. They use this information to track product-related injuries and deaths, and decide when to take measures to limit product dissemination.
Each of these agencies contributes to the management of consumer product safety. They have the authority to ban and recall products or levy fines and other administrative punitive measures for organizations that do not meet the appropriate standards. For information on consumer product recalls, you can conduct a search at www.recalls.gov.
Although numerous agencies regulate products in every industry, accidents, injuries, and deaths from consumer products are an ongoing issue. In order to ensure the health and safety of yourself and your family, it is more important than ever to be aware of the potential for injury, known causes, and ways to prevent injury and death. The most risky consumer products on the market can be divided into four distinct categories: Home and Recreation, Chemicals and Toxins, Electronic Devices, and Toys and Childcare.
Home and recreational products include anything from furniture and appliances to bicycles and motor vehicles. Common home and recreational products include:
Due to the broad range of products and uses in this category, it comes as no surprise that home and recreation products are reported by the CPSC as one of the most common causes of consumer injuries and death. Luckily, preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of injury.
According to the CDC, injuries due to Home and Recreation products are most often the result of older adult falls, water related injuries, fires, and poisoning. It is important to consider the potential causes of injury in order to reduce the risk to yourself and your family.
Chemicals and toxins are a key subcategory of consumer products, and the CDC has a special program for monitoring Personal Care and Consumer Product Chemicals (PCCPCs) through biomonitoring programs, laboratory testing, and biochemical studies. Chemicals are present in a wide range of consumer products, including plastics, gardening treatments, and flame retardant products. It is therefore important to recognize which products may put you at risk and how you can mitigate your exposure. Common chemicals and toxins present in consumer products include:
These chemicals are responsible for illnesses that interfere with normal endocrine, hormonal, and immune system responses. Although they are monitored by the CDC and other agencies, these chemicals are sufficiently prevalent in consumer products that users should be aware of potential effects and ways to avoid exposure.
Electronic devices offer twofold risks, in that they expose consumers to higher levels of electricity and radiation that can be harmful, and they promote posture, inactivity, and repetitive movements that may result in poor health and physical injury. Common electrical consumer products include:
Electronics are extremely common in this day and age, and they will only grow more popular. In order to ensure that you are using electronic consumer products safely, be sure to thoroughly read all operations manuals. In addition, research potential long term effects of device use, such as text neck, carpal tunnel, hearing loss, and computer vision syndrome. Many conditions caused by electronic devices are preventable with sufficient knowledge and the right techniques.
Toys and childcare products are high on the list of risky consumer goods. Children are much less able to withstand exposure to damaging chemicals that are present in some products. What’s more, children lack coordination and often place items in their mouths, so it is especially important for consumers to be aware of any risks to their children, such as easily breakable toys, small components, and sharp or harsh materials.
With thousands of children’s products on the market, parents want to be aware of any potential dangers that can cause injury or even death. Parents need to stay informed of ongoing problems with children’s products, so that they know which products to avoid and which are safest to use.
Overall, safe use of consumer products requires vigilance on the part of consumers as well as the product manufacturers and distributors. While there are numerous agencies dedicated to preserving the health and safety of individual consumers, the number of injuries and deaths due to consumer products speak for themselves. Customers must take responsibility for their health and safety and that of their families into their own hands by staying informed and prepared for all eventualities.