More families were injured by defective household products in the first quarter of 2017 as incidents rose to their highest levels in two decades, according to the Q1 2017 Recall Index. The report found that while the number of consumer products recalled decreased compared to Q4, products for the home and family posed disproportionate dangers. Just four household product categories accounted for more than 75 percent of all consumer products recalled: home furnishings/fixtures, housewares, toys, and child nursery equipment and supplies. At the same time, the risks of people falling, bleeding, or choking accounted for nearly 75 percent of the top hazards reported based on recalled units.
It’s a concerning trend. Injuries reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) jumped 141 percent in Q1 2017. Incidents also increased 379 percent to 16,649 – higher than any single quarter and any full year since at least 1997.
Falling hazards from products such as faulty baby strollers, swing sets, and patio chairs accounted for the highest percentage of recalled units (39 percent). Other leading hazards included products that caused lacerations (27.4 percent), gas leaks (10.1 percent), and choking hazards (8 percent).
The Recall Index, which reports quarterly on recalls in food, pharmaceutical, automotive, medical device, and consumer product industries, did find a silver lining across other industries. Recall activity in Q1 2017 was down overall, declining in seven of the 10 primary metrics the Index tracks.
The outliers were recalled automotive and food & beverage units, which both increased significantly. While FDA food-related recalls dropped 19 percent in Q1 to 200, the number of actual units recalled increased 507 percent to about 92 million products. It was mainly driven by nutritional supplements, which accounted for more than 80 percent of food units recalled, mostly due to one large recall. Overall automotive recalls ticked down 6 percent, to 211. But the number of recalled units spiked 144 percent, driven by a new wave of airbag-related recalls.
Pharmaceutical recalls in Q1 were consistent with the previous quarter, dropping just 2 percent to 81. Only 2 percent of pharmaceutical recalls were domestic and global in reach, making it the lowest quarter since at least 2012.
Medical devices, too, saw a slight decrease, dropping 9 percent to 284 recalls. Recalled units saw a more dramatic drop – declining 85 percent to about 9.3 million units – the lowest quarter since Q4 2013. But Class I medical devices, which are those deemed to be highest risk and subject to the most regulatory controls, comprised 10 percent of recalled units, the highest percentage since Q3 2014.
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