House Democrats Defend Consumer Product Safety Database

July 7, 2011, which went live on March 11, could be on the chopping block.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission's new online database,, contains more than 1,600 product-safety incidents, including 11 reports of product-related fatalities.

That's according to an analysis of the database conducted by Democrats in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, whose ranking member is blasting Republicans for trying to axe the database.

"The new consumer-complaint database is an important step forward and will allow parents and concerned consumers the ability to obtain important product safety information," said Rep. Waxman, D-Calif.

Since the database went live on March 11, there have been more than 305,000 visits to the site and 1.8 million product searches conducted by visitors, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

"More than half of all site visits and almost half of all searches occurred in June 2011, indicating that the database is rapidly becoming more popular among consumers and other individuals," House Democrats said in a news release.

Democrats tried to use the analysis to refute critics who have charged that the database would be filled with reports by anonymous individuals who do not identify the specific products involved.

According to the analysis, more than 80% of the incident reports in the database include the product's model or serial number.

The analysis also found that 82% of the people filing reports have given the Consumer Product Safety Commission permission to release their contact information to the manufacturers, according to House Democrats.

The database came out of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which Congress passed and President Bush signed into law in August 2008. The law required the Consumer Product Safety Commission to create an online database for consumers, health care professionals and public safety officials to report safety hazards and incidents involving consumer products.

The Republican-controlled House is expected to vote on the fiscal year 2012 Financial Services appropriations bill, which contains a provision that would eliminate the new database.

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About the Author

Josh Cable | Former Senior Editor

Former Senior Editor Josh Cable covered innovation issues -- including trends and best practices in R&D, process improvement and product development. He also reported on the best practices of the most successful companies and executives in the world of transportation manufacturing, which encompasses the aerospace, automotive, rail and shipbuilding sectors. 

Josh also led the IndustryWeek Manufacturing Hall of Fame, IW’s annual tribute to the most influential executives and thought leaders in U.S. manufacturing history.

Before joining IndustryWeek, Josh was the editor-in-chief of Penton Media’s Government Product News and Government Procurement. He also was an award-winning beat reporter for several small newspapers in Northeast Ohio.

Josh received his BFA in creative writing from Bowling Green University, and continued his professional development through course-work at Ohio University and Cuyahoga Community College.

A lifelong resident of the Buckeye State, Josh currently lives in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland. When the weather cooperates, you’ll find him riding his bike to work, exercising his green thumb in the backyard or playing ultimate Frisbee.  

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