A recent article in the Los Angeles Times discussed the problem faced by many people, but especially worried parents: keeping up with seemingly endless recall notices. Every single year thousands of different recalls are announced. The recalled items can be anything, including drugs, cars, food, pet products and, possibly most worrisome, children’s items.
Though everyone agrees that recalls are important, often containing critical information that could protect you from injury or even death, there’s no easy way to keep up with all the information. After all, there’s no uniform system for informing consumers about a recalled product. Instead, each company attempts to track down customers and notify them of the danger on their own. Sure, the FDA and the CPSC issue bulletins warning of problems, but very few ordinary people keep their eyes peeled for the latest FDA press release.
Given the scattershot way recalls trickle out to the public, those who want to ensure they stay informed should consider taking the following steps.
First things first, when you buy something take the added time of filling out the product registration card. Though many people simply ignore the registration card, it can serve as an excellent way for companies to track down customers affected by a recall. If you think the questions on the form are too invasive, no worries, only fill out the contact information and product number, companies don’t need to know any more than that.
The next best way to make sure you know what’s going on is to register for email alerts. Because there are several regulatory bodies that monitor various product types, there are also various email lists to join. For household products, make sure to visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website at http://www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx. For automotive recalls, go to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s site at www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/subscriptions. For food, register your email address at the Department of Heath and Human Services’ website, http://www.foodsafety.gov/recalls/alerts. Finally, for medicine head over the FDA’s recall alert page to sign up for email notifications, http://www.fda.gov.
About the Editors: Our personal injury law firm has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC). The attorneys with the firm publish and edit articles on three Legal Examiner sites for the geographic areas of Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Northeast North Carolina as a pro bono service to the general public.