You won't believe the stuff that's recalled
You can sign up for e-mail alerts about defective products.
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 ConsumerAffairs.com, 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.
Published April 29, 2009
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Editor Bev O'Shea lives and works in the foothills of the Appalachians. A former copy editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Orlando Sentinel, she joined MSN Money in 2007. She's a fan of sunsets, college football and free shipping, among other things.
Having worked as a writer, reporter and editor for more than 25 years, Editor Julie Tilsner is the sort of person who can't help but correct grammar in Facebook postings and on billboards. She's written for BusinessWeek, the Los Angeles Times, Parenting, Redbook, AOL and others. She lives in Los Angeles County with her family and loves to drink wine and practice yoga, although not generally at the same time.
A writer for MSN Money since January 2007, Donna Freedman won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. She also writes about smart money tactics for magazines and on her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
Mitch Lipka has been warning people about scams and shining light on questionable business practices for more than 20 years. Mitch, the consumer columnist for The Boston Globe, has also been a reporter and editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Consumer Reports, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and AOL. He won the 2010 New York Press Club award for best consumer reporting online and was honored in 2011 for his reporting on child product safety.
Marilyn Lewis is an award-winning writer with a passion for getting readers clear, straight information that helps them stay out of financial trouble. A former reporter for The San Jose Mercury News, she works from her home in Port Townsend, Wash. Contact her at MarilynLewis@Outlook.com.
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