As Americans eagerly await the first total solar eclipse to cross the continental U.S. in nearly a century, many are buying up specialized glasses to watch the event safely – or so they thought. As it turns out, many have actually purchased counterfeits that could leave them with severe eye damage and vision loss. While legitimate retailers are taking the necessary steps to identify fake eclipse glasses and issue refunds to unsuspecting buyers, there is no telling how many were purchased from street vendors and other common sources of counterfeits.
It was just one of the safety issues in the consumer product industry to make headlines in recent weeks. After numerous reports of choking, laceration, ingestion, and overheating incidents, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued safety tips for fidget spinners. In doing so, the commission placed the product alongside other products with high-profile safety issues, including magnets and corded window coverings.
While most are not considered children’s products, the CPSC considers marketing tactics and product design in making that determination. If the fidget spinner ends up being classified as a children’s product based on those factors, the safety regulations are much more stringent, and that could result in increased potential for a recall.
Any time safety issues involve a new trend or a product designed specifically for a news-making event, headlines are sure to follow. Unfortunately for manufacturers who take care to produce safe, compliant products, these stories can affect everyone involved. Consumers may have a difficult time distinguishing between the two, or they may not trust themselves to tell the difference. In the case of eclipse glasses, specific endorsements from government agencies can help, but that isn’t an option for most consumer products. The situation may be outside companies’ control, so it is important for them to focus on the aspects they can do something about: ensuring compliant design, manufacturing and marketing; transparency with regulators and consumers; and a robust recall plan.
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FDA Commissioner Gottlieb Outlines FY 2019 Budget Goals | RAPS https://t.co/81iG1nVgnZ by @RAPSorg https://t.co/Lzo2e29S1Q
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