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Product recalls in the United States - Statistics & Facts

In 2016, at least 401 injuries were reported due to consumer products in the United States. For example, clothing was associated with 427,500 injuries that resulted in a visit to emergency rooms. The U.S. government created, a collaboration of six federal agencies, to help alert consumers about product recalls. A product recall is a request to return a product after the discovery of safety issues or product defects that might endanger the consumer or put the maker or seller at risk of legal action. The recall is an effort to limit ruination of the corporate image and limit liability for corporate negligence, which can cause significant legal costs. In 2015, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued 410 recalls and in two companies were fined with civil penalties in the U.S.

Even if the product is removed from store shelves, very few steps are taken to remove the product from homes, childcare facilities, secondhand stores and garage sales. Millions of recalled products are still in use. The most exposed to this threat are children and infants. In 2018, around 25 of the 100 recalled children's products were nursery products. In the same year, about 42 recalls of children's products resulted in choking, strangulation, entrapment, suffocation or entanglement.

The cost of issuing recalls can only be estimated as it is difficult to quantify the economic loss that results from a reduction in brand reputation and future sales. As of 2016, the costliest recall worldwide was Takata airbags at a loss of 26 billion U.S. dollars . The issue involved defective inflator and propellant devices that deployed improperly in the event of a crash, shooting metal fragments into vehicle occupants. Issuing recalls may have a negative long term impact on a brand’s reputation. In 2016 poll, about 66 percent of the U.S. respondents thought that a product recall or contamination that may cause illness was either very or extremely damaging to a brand's reputation.

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Product recalls in the United States

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