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You won't believe the stuff that's recalled

You can sign up for e-mail alerts about defective products.

By Karen Datko Oct 10, 2009 10:08PM

We got a lukewarm response when we urged readers to sign up for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's daily e-mail report about recalls. How boring, you thought. Well, folks, you don't know what you're missing.

Every day we scan the e-mail and invariably cringe. At the top of today's list: Under Armour's voluntary recall of about 211,000 athletic cups. Wouldn't you want to know about it if you owned one of them? It also said:

Hazard: The cups can break if hit, posing a risk of serious injury hazard to athletes.

Incidents/injuries: Under Armour has received five reports of cups breaking, including an injury involving cuts and bruising. 

We tried to warn you. And sometimes these notices are even worse.

Earlier this week, the CPSC announced the voluntary recall of 150 leg curl machines made by Paramount Fitness Corp. of Los Angeles -- last sold in 1995, thank heavens.

Hazard: A consumer's hand can become caught between the cylindrical counter weight and the frame of the fitness machine, posing a crushing hazard that can result in lacerations and finger amputation.

Incidents/injuries: Paramount has received three reports of incidents, including a finger amputation and two finger-crushing injuries.

On April 1, the CPSC issued an "urgent warning of amputation hazard" posed by a potentially defective log splitter.

The e-mail alerts also explain what consumers who have these products should do (usually stop using them) and how to make it right -- in some cases get a refund or replacement, or, in the case of the leg curl machine, a free repair kit.

Then there are the more common recalls of appliances that can electrocute, hoodie drawstrings that can strangle, and toys and other items covered with lead paint. Did you know that more than 5 million cribs, play yards and bassinets have been recalled since 2007, often because of entrapment, suffocation or strangulation hazards? So says the CPSC's Crib Information Center.

The obvious question is: Why is so much faulty stuff manufactured in the first place?

We e-mailed that question to James Hood, president of, who replied: "Lack of planning. Importers buy cheaply made products without considering the safety implications. In other cases, design defects emerge after the product has been in the marketplace."

It seems that sometimes the hazard couldn't be readily anticipated, and other times someone was asleep at the switch.

If you don't want to clutter your inbox with more e-mail, you can find the latest recalls at the CPSC Web site and at our partner site

Published April 29, 2009


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