14. What is the “Consumer Product Safety Act”?
The Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) was passed for the purpose of protecting consumers against dangerous products. The CPSA encompasses several consumer protection acts, such as the Poison Prevention Packaging Act (PPPA) and the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). The CPSA established the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which is charged with administering the provisions of the CPSA along with its regulatory provisions. The CPSC has authority over most consumer products, except those that are expressly relegated to a separate federal agency. The CPSC has authority to establish product safety standards, seek the recall of, and potentially ban, products that are unreasonably dangerous or present a significant risk to consumers.
• Note: The CPSIA is an important amendment that protects individuals against retaliation for reporting concerns about product safety. It is also dedicated to ensuring the production of safe products for children.
• Example: The coverage of the CPSC is very broad. Examples of consumer products specifically relegated to other federal agencies include: food, drugs, tobacco products, firearms, medical devices, aircrafts, boats, etc.
• Discussion: How do you feel about the broad authority granted to the CPSC? Do you feel the authority is sufficiently broad? Why or why not? As you have learned, defective products may create strict liability for manufacturers and sellers. Should this be balanced against the above regulations? Why or why not?