WASHINGTON, D.C.-- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) system for targeting certain high-risk cargo continued to net results in the last half of fiscal year 2013 leading to the identification of about 8.2 million units of consumer products that violated U.S. safety rules or that were found to be defective. For all of FY2013, more than 12.5 million units of violative imports were prevented from reaching the hands of consumers.
CPSC’s targeting system, known as the RAM (risk assessment methodology), was deployed as a pilot project in late 2011. Currently, CPSC is proposing to expand the RAM program, so that the program can reach its full potential of actively preventing dangerous imports from entering the stream of commerce, while facilitating compliant trade.
The RAM allows CPSC investigators to analyze certain data provided by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) about shipments of consumer products arriving at U.S. ports of entry, and then make risk-based decisions about which shipments to inspect. The RAM also allows CPSC to recognize low-risk cargo and facilitate its movement through the ports.
Using the RAM, CPSC investigators and their CBP counterparts were able to screen more than 14,000 different imported consumer product shipments during the last two quarters of FY 2013 -- April through September 2013.
During that six-month period, the screenings led to the identification of more than 600 shipments containing violative or defective products, totaling about 8.2 million units -- all of which CPSC and CBP prevented from moving into the U.S. stream of commerce and into the hands of consumers.
About 550 of the 600 product shipments investigators stopped were children’s products totaling about 2.1 million units.
The leading hazards identified in shipments of children’s products from April through September 2013 continued to be lead content or lead in paint in higher than allowable amounts. Additional hazards identified were products that contained phthalates and toys and other articles with small parts that present a choking hazard for children younger than 3 years old.
During the period when retailers imported products for the Memorial Day and Independence Day holidays in 2013, investigators stopped 51 shipments of violative fireworks. The more than 4.1 million units of fireworks made up the bulk of non-children’s products that were stopped in the six-month time frame.
A shipment of 100,000 disposable lighters was also stopped and seized for destruction due to the importer’s failure to demonstrate that the lighters successfully met performance safety requirements, including child resistance. Before cigarette lighters were required to be child-resistant, fire loss data revealed an estimated annual average of 7,250 residential structure fires, 190 deaths and 1,290 injuries that resulted from children younger than 5 playing with lighters.
A significant number of other products were identified for a variety of administrative violations.
Acting CPSC Chairman Bob Adler said the success of the import surveillance mission is a win for both consumers and retailers.
“Every day, our investigators, working with our federal partners in CBP, are focused on keeping U.S. families safe from harmful products,” Acting Chairman Adler said. “Our RAM program is a win-win-win for CPSC, consumers, and industry, which is why we are working to expand our defenses at the ports.”
A complete list of products found in violation of safety requirements enforced by CPSC is at https://cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/Violations.
The RAM was developed to meet the requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008, which directed CPSC to create a risk assessment methodology to identify products imported into the U.S. that are most likely to violate consumer product safety statutes and regulations.
CPSC has been screening products at ports since the agency began operating in 1973. The agency intensified its efforts in 2008 with the creation of an import surveillance division and again in 2011 with the creation of the Office of Import Surveillance.
CPSC Import Stoppage Report
3rd & 4th Quarters, FY 2013
NOTE: Data are from samples collected from April 1, 2013 to September 30, 2013. The quantities below are approximate. Minor changes may occur due to updated data.
Total number of screenings – 14,111
Total number of products stopped – 616
Total number of units stopped – 8,214,887
Total number of products stopped – 548 (89%)
Total number of units stopped – 2,091,737 (25%)
Products Stopped by Primary Violation/Defect
Lead – 225 (paint 14; content 211) (41%)
Phthalates – 114 (20%)
Tracking labels – 62 (11%)
Art materials – 49 (8%)
Small parts – 39 (7%)
Certification – 21 (3%)
Durable nursery products – 21 (3%)
Misbranded toys – 15 (2%)
Misbranded balloons – 8 (1%)
Battery-operated toys – 5 (1%)
The remaining 3 percent included drawstrings, pacifiers, and rattles.
Total number of products stopped – 68 (11%)
Total number of units stopped – 6,123,150 (75%)
Products Stopped by Primary Violation/Defect
Fireworks – 51 (75%)
Cigarette/Multi-purpose lighters –8 (12%)
Mattress flammability – 6 (9%)
Generator labeling – 2 (3%)
Hair dryers – 1 (1%)