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Consumer Product Safety Commission

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is an independent federal regulatory agency created to protect the public from unreasonable risks of injuries and deaths associated with some 15,000 types of consumer products. Defective product law, commonly known as products liability, refers to the liability of parties along the chain of manufacture of any product for damage caused by that product. A defective product is one that causes some injury or damage to person because of some defect in the product or its labeling or the way the product was used. Those responsible for the defect can include the manufacturers of component parts, assembling manufacturers, wholesalers, and retail stores. The CPSC uses various means to inform the public about potential risks. These include local and national media coverage, publication of numerous booklets and product alerts, a web site, a telephone Hotline, the National Injury Information Clearinghouse, CPSC’s Public Information Center and responses to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. For nearly 30 years the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has operated a statistically valid injury surveillance and follow-back system known as the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS). The primary purpose of NEISS has been to provide timely data on consumer product-related injuries occurring in the United States. NEISS injury data are gathered from the emergency departments of 100 hospitals selected as a probability sample of all U.S. hospitals with emergency departments. The system’s foundation rests on emergency department surveillance data, but the system also has the flexibility to gather additional data at either the surveillance or the investigation level. Surveillance data enable CPSC analysts to make timely national estimates of the number of injuries associated with (not necessarily caused by) specific consumer products. These data also provide evidence of the need for further study of particular products. Subsequent follow-back studies yield important clues to the cause and likely prevention of injuries.

Inside Consumer Product Safety Commission