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Arthur Elk: More must be done to protect people from dangerous products

By Arthur Elk

As a personal injury attorney, I have seen far too many cases of dangerous products injuring or even killing innocent people. Whether it is a vehicle with a dangerous malfunction or a child’s toy that proves to be a strangulation risk or food contaminated by salmonella, there are hundreds of products recalled every year.

With the wealth of information available at our fingertips and tighter government regulations, are we really any safer from dangerous products than we were in the past? Two reports issued this week show some progress is being made in making children’s products safer while food recalls are on the rise.

Kids in Danger’s annual report found that while the number of child product recalls dropped to 97 in 2012, the numbers of incidents (up 49%), injuries (up 42%) and deaths (up 200%) associated with those products rose dramatically from 2011. Eight children and one adult were killed before these products were recalled.

One product, the Flexible Flyer Swing Set, had an amazing 1,232 reported incidents before consumers were alerted to the dangers through the recall.

While the number of child product recalls dropped in 2012, food recalls reached a four-year quarterly high for the fourth quarter of 2012 with 552 recalls. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, approximately six food recalls were documented every day during the fourth quarter, affecting 18.4 million products. This was an increase of 33 percent from the third quarter of 2012.

Experts pointed to the peanut butter recall as a major factor for the increase. According to the FDA, 165 of the recalls were related to the salmonella outbreak at Sunland Inc.

More must be done to ensure recalls are done in a timely manner, before innocent people die. It amazes me to see the things that companies will do to make money at the expense of their customers. There is no reason more than 1,000 incidents should be reported on one product before someone issues a recall. I want to see manufacturers step up and take products off the shelves when they are shown to be dangerous. And if they don’t, someone must hold them accountable.

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