The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) system for targeting high-risk cargo showed net results in the latter half of the fiscal year 2013. Targeting method has helped CPSC to identify about 8.2 million units of consumer products that violate U.S. safety rules or that were defective. In total during the fiscal year of 2013 over 12.5 million units of violative imports were identified and stopped before reaching consumers.
The method being used by CPSC to target these products is known as RAM (risk assessment methodology), which was deployed as a pilot project in 2011. The RAM allows investigators to analyze data from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) about shipments of consumer products and then make informed decisions on which shipments to inspect. It allows them to differentiate between low-risk cargo and high-risk cargo and accordingly facilitate the movement of the shipments.
During a six month period from April through September 2013, CPSC screened an excess of 14,000 different imported consumer product shipments using RAM and of those over 600 shipments were found to contain violative or defective products (totaling 8.2 million units). Of those 600 shipments nearly 550 were children’s products (making up approximately 2.1 million units). The leading hazard found among the children’s product were lead content or lead paint in amounts higher than the legal amounts. Other hazards identified among toys and other articles were choking hazards for young children.
Near holidays like Memorial Day and Independence Day in 2013, investigators stopped 51 shipments of violative fireworks. Lighters were seized due to failure of the manufacture to demonstrate successful safety requirements (i.e. child resistance).
A list of the products found in violation of safety requirements can be located at https://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/Violations. Thanks to RAM the CPSC is able to cut off defective and violative products before they reach the hands of consumers, but that does not always happen. Some consumer goods do not get caught early enough and unfortunately when that occurs consumers can be injured and/or property can be damaged.