Product Safety in the Home

Background

According to a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report, in 2011 almost 2 million people age 65 and older went to emergency rooms because of injuries related to consumer products. From 2009 to 2011(the most recent range of years for complete data) there were more than 12,540 consumer product-related senior fatalities among people age 65 and older reported to the CPSC.

The CPSC has jurisdiction over about 15,000 types of consumer products. Only a small number of products are governed by mandatory standards.

Current CPSC regulations require companies to promptly report to the commission any safety problems associated with their products. However, the commission has inadequate resources to enforce its requirements. Also, it is the only health and safety agency that limits public access to information.

Product Safety in the Home: Policy

Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) funding

In this policy: Federal

Congress should fund the CPSC at appropriate levels to ensure that its mission—to prevent the millions of injuries and fatalities in this country caused by unsafe products—is not diminished.

Product safety for older people

In this policy: Federal

The CPSC should focus attention on product safety problems that pose a particular risk to older people, such as those linked to fires and falls.

Public access to product information

In this policy: Federal

The CPSC should take proactive regulatory measures to prevent consumer injuries and promote public access to information about consumer products.