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Agencies mark 10 year annivesary of defective product laws

Several agencies concerned with the health and well-being of consumers recently celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. The law provides improved safeguards to prevent consumers from being harmed by a potentially defective product. It has also led to improved safety standards for children's toys and household products that previously posed a threat to families here in Texas and throughout the country.

The law reduced the permissible levels of lead in children's toys and related products. Reportedly, there was only been one recall issued over lead concerns last year, which is a significant improvement over the more than 100 recalls that were issued in 2007. Along with the tighter lead restrictions, there have been improvements made in the safety of children's furniture -- primarily in crib side rail safety requirements.

Stricter quality control over children's toys has also been achieved. In 2007, there were an estimated 107 recalls issued over unsafe or potentially dangerous toys. In 2017, there were 15. The CPSIA also bolsters the ability of the Consumer Product Safety Commission to hold manufacturers accountable for violating the new standards by the ability to issue tougher civil penalties.

Along with these and other safety improvements, the CPSIA bans several phthalates used to soften plastics. These chemicals have been implicated in causing cancer, fertility issues and several other potentially serious illnesses. In spite of the improvements that have been made in protecting the health and well-being of consumers, there remains a danger posed by any potentially defective product. Texas residents who have suffered injuries due to the use of such a product may seek relief for their losses via a products liability claim in civil court.

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