The Consumer Products Safety Commission [CPSC] is a wealth of information, but you need to know what to ask for. I filed a FOIA request for information on a particular consumer item [sleeping bags] several years ago, and I received a small packet of material. Later I learned the names of their databases, and refiled my request, citing the specific databases. They sent me ten times as much material. I'm going to discuss some of the essential databases from which you can draw information on some very interesting topics. Some of those topics are listed at the end of this note.
National Electronic Injury Surveillance System contains vast quantities of occurances and incidents associated with any of hundreds of consumer products. If you want to see how the information is stored, or to get a complete list of products in the database, ask CPSC for a copy of the NEISS CODING MANUAL. If you know the parametric codes, you can ask them for exactly what you need, which will save you a lot of time in the long run.
Death Certificate File -
A database of death certificates (personal names removed) for fatal injuries associated with nearly any product. These can put a human face on the danger you may want to describe.
In Depth Investigation File
This file contains lengthy investigations of specific cases associated with nearly any product.
Injury/Potential Injury Incident
File [IPII] -
This file lists more data on injuries and potential injuries associated with nearly any product you designate. Regulated Product Comprehensive Plans - These plans are published by CPSC for any product for which regulatory or industry volunteered action is taken.
The interesting thing is that Survey Reports are also published by CPSC for any Regulated Product, so you can ask for those also, to see how well the regulation is working. I think that those Survey Reports are extremely interesting. You can ask for data either on generic products, or on specific brand names.
CPSC also deals with the International Consumer Porduct Health & Safety Organization [in Switzerland??].
International correspondance, database records and other records on specific potentially dangerous products may be accessible under FOIA through CPSC.
Finally, the Public Safety Bureau in Canada is the northern counterpart to CPSC. I'm not certain, but it is likely that similar types of information are available under the Canadian FOIA laws, although Americans cannot use those laws directly. Canadians, however, can ask for American records under the American FOIA laws. The address to write to send a FOIA is: National Injury Information Clearinghoutse US Consumer Product Safety Commission Washington, DC 20207
SEE BELOW FOR SOME PRODUCTS IN THE DATABASES:
1.CHILD NURSERY EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES
Baby carriages, walkers and strollers Cribs, playpens and baby gates High chairs and youth chairs Miscellaneous
Children's sports and hobby equipment Electric trains, cars and accessories Projectile or flying toys Toy chests and boxes Tricycles (children's) Wagons and other ride-on toys Miscellaneous
3. SPORTS AND RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES AND EQUIPMENT
Amusement rides Archery ATVs, mopeds, minibikes, etc. Barbecue grills, stoves and fuel Baseball/softball Basketball BB guns, BB's and pellets Beach, picnic and camping equipment Bicycles and accessories Billiards or pool Bowling Boxing Cheerleading Curling Dancing Exercise equipment Fencing Fishing Football Gymnastics and equipment Hockey, all kinds Horseback riding Horseshoes Ice or snow boating Lacrosse, rugby and miscellaneous ball games Martial arts Mountain climbing Playground equipment Racquet sports Shuffleboard Skateboards Skating, all kinds Snowmobiles Snow skiing and snowboarding Soccer Swimming activity, pools and equipment Toboggans, sleds, snow discs, etc. Track and field Trampolines Unicycles Volleyball Water skiing, tubing and surfing Wrestling Miscellaneous
4. HOME COMMUNICATION, ENTERTAINMENT AND HOBBY
Sound recording and reproducing equipment Television sets and stands Miscellaneous
5. PERSONAL USE ITEMS
Cigarettes, etc., lighters, lighter fluids and matches Clothing, all Desk supplies Drug poisonings to children under 5 Grooming devices Holders for personal items Infrared lamps and saunas Jewelry, watches, keys and key chains Massage devices Protection devices (eyes, ears, etc.) Razors, shavers and razor blades Miscellaneous
6. PACKAGING AND CONTAINERS FOR HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS
Cans and other containers Glass bottles and jars Paper, cardboard and plastic products
7.YARD AND GARDEN EQUIPMENT
Chain saws Hand garden tools Hatchets and axes Lawn and garden care equipment Lawn mowers, all types Other power lawn equipment Outdoor electric lighting equipment Trimmers and small power garden tools
8. HOME WORKSHOP APPARATUS, TOOLS AND ATTACHMENTS
Automotive accessories and chemicals Batteries, all types Battery chargers Chains Engines, non-automotive Hoists, lifts, jacks, etc. Power home tools (excluding saws) Power home workshop saws Welding, soldering, cutting tools Wires, cords, not specified Workshop chemicals Workshop manual tools Miscellaneous
9. HOME AND FAMILY MAINTENANCE PRODUCTS
Cleaning agents (excluding soaps) Cleaning equipment, non-caustics Drain, oven cleaners and caustics Paints, solvents and lubricants Polishes and waxes Soaps and detergents Miscellaneous
10. GENERAL HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES
Cooking ranges, ovens, etc. Irons and clothes steamers Refrigerators and freezers Washers and dryers Miscellaneous
11.SPACE HEATING, COOLING AND VENTILATING EQUIPMENT
Air conditioners Chimneys and fireplaces Fans (excluding stove exhaust fans) Furnaces Heating stoves and space heaters Pipes (heating and plumbing) Radiators Water heaters Miscellaneous
Cookware Drinking glasses Knives, unpowered Scissors Skewers and picks Small kitchen appliances Tableware and accessories Miscellaneous
13. HOME FURNISHINGS AND FIXTURES
Bathtub and shower structures Beds, mattresses and pillows Blankets Carpets and rugs Chairs, sofas and sofa beds Desks, cabinets, shelves, racks, etc. Drapery rods and accessories Electric fixtures, lamps and equipment Fireplace equipment Holiday and party supplies Hot tubs, spas and whirlpools Ladders and stools Mirrors and mirror glass Other miscellaneous furniture and accessories Scales (excluding baby scales) Sinks and toilets Tables Window, table, chair and bed covers Miscellaneous
14. HOME STRUCTURES AND CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS
Automatic doors and door openers Cabinet or door hardware Ceilings and walls of a completed structure Counters and counter tops Fences Glass doors, windows and panels Handrails, railings and banisters Insulation Nails, carpet tacks, etc. Non-glass doors and panels Outside attached structures and materials Outside unattached structures Porches, open side floors, etc. Stairs, ramps, landings and floors Window and door sills (including frames) Wood panelling and particleboard Miscellaneous
Alarms and escape equipment Business and office machines Dollies and carts Elevators and other lifts Fireworks and flares Fuel-burning lighting equipment and fuels Gasoline and diesel fuels Generators Miscellaneous
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Michael Ravnitzky MikeRav@ix.netcom.com