Less than 1 percent of imported products, including toys, inspected for safety issues

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is the federal agency responsible for inspecting consumer products, including those imported from other countries. You might assume that this is a big agency, with lots of resources and legislation to back it up, but the truth is that the commission regulates very few of the thousands of products in its jurisdiction.

According to commission data cited by Bloomberg, less than 1 percent of imported products are inspected by the CPSC for safety issues. Those dangers could be flammability, choking hazards and high lead content, among others. In particular, there is good reason to believe that dangerous toys are putting children throughout the United States at risk.

A law enacted in 2008 requires that children’s products be tested for safety issues at accredited labs. However, the duty to hire the accredited labs is left up to retailers, and CPSC data show that this method of self-policing is not keeping dangerous products, particularly cheap children’s toys, out of stores.

In fact, regulatory filings show that the CPSC is currently investigating Dollar Tree for product safety violations since 2009. Dollar Tree is the leading offender among all of the retailers inspected by the commission.

Behind Dollar Tree in the number of safety violations are Zulily and Target, followed by many other national retailers. Bloomberg recently published a graphic analysis of the violations since October 2012.

Although dangerous products can cause serious injury and death, product liability is still a difficult area of law, requiring experience in holding manufacturers, distributors and retailers accountable. If you have a dangerous product claim, then speak with a lawyer who knows how to investigate and prosecute product liability cases.

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