In the wake of increased product recalls in 2007-2008, Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). Among other things, CPSIA requires the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to establish a database on the safety of consumer products that is publicly available, searchable, and accessible through the CPSC Web site. In response, CPSC launched SaferProducts.gov in March 2011. The Department of Defense and Full Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011 requires GAO to report on the data collected by CPSC in its safety information database. This report examines (1) the information required for submitting a report of harm to SaferProducts.gov, (2) the information used to identify the product and to allow CPSC to review manufacturer claims of material inaccuracy in a report of harm, and (3) the length of time CPSC takes to review a manufacturer's claim that a report contains materially inaccurate information. To do this work, GAO analyzed agency data, regulations, and CPSC program documentation and interviewed CPSC staff and various industry and consumer representatives.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Consumer Product Safety Commission||1. To effectively implement the recent amendments to CPSIA, the CPSC should enhance the analytic methods it uses to identify product information in a report of harm, such as by verifying whether the model field in its data contains a number (versus a text response, which would not meet the statutory requirement) or by searching for model numbers or serial numbers that may be listed in other fields.|