2011 Year in Review: Product Safety

This week, Promo Marketing is looking at the stories that helped define 2011. From Monday through Thursday we will recap the year’s major news in four different areas: industry news, politics, product safety and world events. Check PromoMarketing.com each day, and vote in our Friday poll for the most important story of the year.

2011 Year in Review: Product Safety
With news of lead scares and burning night lights occurring regularly in 2011, product safety was a major issue. Manufacturers for the promotional products industry as well as for retail and commercial operations were affected by new laws, as well as older regulations which are only now taking effect. Perhaps the most significant of these events dealt with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), which began enforcement this August.

Reusable Bag Lead Scare
In late January, the Center for Consumer Freedom published a report stating that several major retailers were using reusable bags which included more than 100 parts per million (ppm) of lead. The story was picked up by several major newspapers, like USA Today, and caused some panic among consumers about the safety of polypropylene and nonwoven reusable bags. Chris Duffy, vice president of marketing or Bag Makers, and Rick Brenner, CEO of Prime Line, each responded to the report, finding fault with the results and insisting on the safety of the products. Despite an initial media furor, no further reports were issued linking reusable bags to dangerous volumes of lead.

Product Safety Database Goes Live
Required as a part of CPSIA, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) created a product safety database for consumers to submit complaints about harmful retail items. The result of that legislation, SaferProducts.gov, went live on March 11 and was met with immediate resistance from several manufacturing interest groups. Business representatives said the website would unfairly slander manufacturers due to the nature of how complaints are posted; in October, a manufacturer did just that, anonymously filing a lawsuit against the site for posting a complaint the manufacturer said is illegitimate.

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