Home How2Buy Helmets Children Promotions Pamphlets Statistics Laws Standards
Quick New Briefs Services Press Links Sitemap Search Translate

Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute

Jailed or Fined for
Breaking CPSC Rules

It could happen to a helmet
manufacturer or Importer!




Summary: Here are a few CPSC press releases on penalties they have imposed on manufacturers and importers for failing to comply with Commission rules similar to their bicycle helmet standard.





Lead Paint Violations - Big fine, but not largest ever

June 5, 2009 Release # 09-237

Mattel, Fisher-Price to Pay $2.3 Million Civil Penalty for Violating Federal Lead Paint Ban

Penalty is highest ever for CPSC regulated product violations

WASHINGTON, D.C. - As part of its commitment to protecting the safety of children, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that Mattel Inc., of El Segundo, Calif. and its wholly owned subsidiary, Fisher-Price Inc., of East Aurora, N.Y. have agreed to pay a $2.3 million civil penalty for violating the federal lead paint ban.

The penalty settlement, which has been provisionally accepted by the Commission, resolves CPSC staff allegations that Mattel and Fisher-Price knowingly (as defined in the Consumer Product Safety Act) imported and sold children's toys with paints or other surface coatings that contained lead levels that violated a 30-year-old federal law. In 1978, a federal ban was put in place which prohibited toys and other children's articles from having more than 0.06 percent lead (by weight) in paints or surface coatings. In 2007, about 95 Mattel and Fisher-Price toy models were determined to have exceeded this limit. Lead can be toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health consequences.

This civil penalty, which is the highest for violations involving importation or distribution in commerce of a regulated product and is the third highest of any kind in CPSC history, settles the following allegations:

    Mattel imported up to 900,000 non-compliant toys between September 2006 and August 2007, including the "Sarge" toy car and numerous Barbie accessory toys, and distributed most of them to its retail customers for sale to U.S. consumers. The "Sarge" car was recalled in August 2007 and the Barbie toys were recalled in September 2007.

    Fisher-Price imported up to 1.1 million non-compliant toys between July 2006 and August 2007, including certain licensed character toys and the Bongo Band, GEOTRAX locomotive, and Go Diego Go Rescue Boat toys. Most of these toys were distributed to retail stores for sale to consumers. The licensed character toys were recalled in August 2007, the Bongo Band and GEO TRAX toys were recalled in September 2007, and the Go Diego Go Boat toys were recalled in October 2007.

"These highly publicized toy recalls helped spur Congressional action last year to strengthen CPSC and make even stricter the ban on lead paint on toys," said CPSC Acting Chairman Thomas Moore. "This penalty should serve notice to toy makers that CPSC is committed to the safety of children, to reducing their exposure to lead, and to the implementation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act."

This settlement also resolves other potential matters. In agreeing to the settlement, Mattel and Fisher-Price deny that they knowingly violated federal law, as alleged by CPSC staff.

To see this release on CPSC's web site, with links to the previous recalls and settlement agreement, please go to the CPSC Web site

Largest FHSA violation fine, but smaller than two earlier CPSA fines.

Reebok to Pay Record $1,000,000 Civil Penalty for
Violation of Federal Hazardous Substances Act

March 18, 2008 - Release #08-224

WASHINGTON D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that a manufacturer of athletic shoes and apparel has agreed to pay the government a $1,000,000 civil penalty. This penalty, which has been provisionally accepted, is the largest for a Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA) violation and follows a recall announced by CPSC and Reebok of 300,000 bracelets.

The penalty settles allegations that Reebok International Ltd., of Canton, Mass., imported and distributed charm bracelets that contained toxic levels of lead. The charm bracelets were provided as free gifts with the purchase of various styles of children's footwear. In March 2006, a 4-year-old boy from Minneapolis who swallowed the bracelet's heart-shaped pendant died.

The FHSA bans toxic levels of accessible lead in toys and other children's products. CPSC's enforcement policy urges manufacturers of children's metal jewelry to keep lead content below 0.06% by weight.

"This civil penalty sends a clear message that the CPSC will not allow companies to put children's safety at risk," said CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord. "Preventing dangerous metal jewelry from reaching the hands of children is a priority for our agency."

In agreeing to settle the matter, Reebok denies that it violated federal law.

To see this release on CPSC's web site, including pictures of the recalled product, please go to: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml08/08224.html



Fireworks seller gets prison term

Pennsylvania Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Repeatedly Selling Illegal Fireworks Components

March 3, 2006 - Release # 06-105

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Pennsylvania fireworks chemical supplier was sentenced to federal prison today for violating a consent decree by selling illegal and highly dangerous fireworks components.

John Rasmus, of Hallstead, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 5 months in federal prison, 5 months home confinement and three years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge James M. Munley, Middle District of Pennsylvania. Rasmus pled guilty in October 2005 to three counts of criminal contempt for violating the terms of a previous illegal fireworks-related consent decree.

For details and the remainder of this release, please visit the CPSC Web site.



Ten Children Burned - $300,000 Fine

June 27, 2005 - Release #05-208

Rose Art Industries To Pay $300,000 Penalty For
Failing to Report Hazard with Soap Making Kit

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) today announced a provisional settlement with a toy and art materials manufacturer for failing to report important product safety information to the Commission. The settlement will impose a $300,000 penalty against Rose Art Industries Inc., of Livingston, N.J., for failing to inform the government in a timely manner about a defect in soap making kits that led to injuries to young children.

Between August 1997 and December 2001, Rose Art made and sold about 125,000 Glamour Gear Soap Making Kits nationwide. The kits, which are intended for children eight years of age and older, include bars of soap, molds and a plastic cup to melt soap chunks. A defect in the plastic cup, which is used to heat the soap in a microwave, can cause it to deform or develop a hole in the bottom and pose a serious burn hazard to children.

Between January 1998 and January 2002, Rose Art received 10 reports of children who were burned by hot soap while removing the plastic cup from the microwave. The majority of the children suffered second and third degree burns. The firm did not inform CPSC about the defect, injuries and the resulting civil litigation against the company until February 2002.

In March 2002, CPSC and Rose Art announced a recall of the soap kits. Consumers can log on to www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml02/02121.html for information about receiving a refund.

According to federal law, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers are required to report to CPSC immediately (within 24 hours) after obtaining information which reasonably supports the conclusion that a product contains a defect which could create a substantial risk of injury to the public, presents an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or violates a federal safety standard.

In agreeing to settle the matter, Rose Art Industries denies that the soap kits were defective and that it violated the reporting requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Act.

To view this press release online, please go to our website at: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml05/05208.html




Record Fine: $4 million

March 22, 2005 - Release # 05-138

Record Civil Penalty Levied Against Graco Children's Products Inc. CPSC, Graco announce new recall of 1.2 million toddler beds

WASHINGTON, D.C.- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) today announced a provisional settlement with one of the nation's largest children's product manufacturers for the largest civil penalty levied in CPSC history. CPSC has provisionally imposed a $4 million penalty against Graco Children's Products Inc., of Exton, Pa., for failing to inform the government in a timely manner about more than 12 million products that posed a danger to young children nationwide.

CPSC and Graco also are announcing the recall today of about 1.2 million toddler beds, sold between February 1994 and March 2001, because a child's arm or leg can become entrapped in the guard rails or footboard. The company's failure to report the toddler beds is one of the violations leading to today's penalty.

"CPSC is at the forefront of protecting children from products that can cause serious injuries," stated CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton. "Today's announcement demonstrates our commitment to protecting American families by holding companies accountable for keeping safety information from us."

Graco, which acquired the Century brand name in 1998, is now owned by Newell Rubbermaid Inc. From 1991 through 2002, Graco and Century failed to report defects in juvenile products that the Commission said could create substantial product hazards or unreasonable risks of injury or death to young children. According to the CPSC, the company failed to report hundreds of incidents and injuries involving 16 different products. The products, all used by young children, include infant carriers, high chairs, infant swings, strollers and toddler beds. The injuries range from contusions and fractures to strangulation (including some fatalities).

The CPSC and Graco are also finalizing corrective action plans for two additional products that were manufactured between 1994 and 2001 and are addressed by today's penalty.

Stratton added, "We want companies to take their reporting responsibilities very seriously. The action taken by Newell Rubbermaid to identify these critical safety failures by companies they purchased and take the necessary measures to improve product safety is a positive step that other companies should follow."




$1.4 Million fine for failing to inform

November 19, 2004 - Release # 05-053

Dynacraft To Pay $1.4 Million Penalty for Failing to Report Hazard with Mountain Bicycles

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that Dynacraft BSC Inc., of San Rafael, Calif., has agreed to pay a $1,400,000 civil penalty (pdf) to settle allegations that it violated federal reporting requirements. CPSC alleged that Dynacraft failed, on multiple occasions, to inform the government in a timely manner about a serious defect with their mountain bicycles.

Between July 1999 and March 2001, Dynacraft imported nearly 250,000 mountain bicycles that were manufactured with two types of defective forks. The forks, which are part of the steering column, can break apart and separate from the front wheel, causing the rider to lose control and suffer serious injuries. Over 50,000 of these bicycles also were made with a defect that caused the pedals to come loose and fall off, resulting in a loss of control by the rider.

In January 2000, Dynacraft reported to CPSC that a limited number of Vertical XL2 bicycles were involved in incidents where the fork broke and riders suffered chipped teeth, a sprained back, or bumps and bruises to the head. Based on this information, CPSC and the firm recalled only 19,000 bicycles in February 2000. Yet, the firm knew of additional consumers who experienced the same problem with the bicycles, but these incidents were not reported to CPSC until July 2000.

As a result, the February 2000 recall was expanded in September 2000 to include another 24,800 Vertical XL2 and Magna Electroshock model bicyles. Dynacraft reported problems with the Magna Electroshock model in August 2000, including 35 incidents and injuries (concussions, fractures, and lost teeth).

In March 2001, Dynacraft informed CPSC about 31 riders using the Next Shockzone model mountain bikes who were injured between March 2000 and March 2001. In addition to broken bones, cuts and bruises, one rider suffered a blood clot in the brain. The recall of 38,000 Next Shockzone bicycles in April 2001 also involved defective suspension forks.

An additional 54,000 units were recalled in May 2001 after the company reported incidents and serious injuries involving the Magna Equator models, due to defects with the pedals. The largest and last recall took place in June 2002, when 132,000 Next Ultra Shock mountain bicycles were recalled due to defective Ballistic 105 forks. Dynacraft reported 21 injuries involving the Next Ultra Shock, including concussions, abrasions, chipped teeth, and chest trauma.

Federal law requires manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to report to CPSC immediately (within 24 hours) after obtaining information which reasonably supports the conclusion that a product contains a defect which could create a substantial risk of injury to the public, presents an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or violates a federal safety standard.

In agreeing to settle the matter, Dynacraft BSC Inc. denies that it violated the reporting requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Act.

View this press release online at http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml05/05053.html




$1 Million Fine for Failing to File Timely Reports

September 23, 2003 - Release # 03-188

Brunswick has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $1 million. The Commission alleged that Brunswick was not timely in reporting that it had learned of 31 serious incidents involving defective forks on its Mongoose and Roadmaster bicycles.

Details on the CPSC Web site.




$100,000 Fine for Importing Dangerous Toys

November 21, 2002 - Release # 03-041

Four California Companies Must Pay $100,000 Fine For Importing and Selling Dangerous Children's Toys

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is announcing today that four Los Angeles-area businesses and six individuals must pay $100,000 in civil penalties for allegedly importing and selling dangerous children's toys.

Details on the CPSC Web site.



$270,000 Fine for Importing Dangerous Toys

California Company Pleads Guilty To Importing and Selling Dangerous Children’s Toys

Must Pay $270,000 in Civil and Criminal Fines

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is announcing today that STK International Inc. (STK), of Los Angeles, Calif., must pay $270,000 in civil and criminal penalties for importing and selling dangerous children’s toys. STK must pay a $120,000 criminal penalty and the company and its President Stuart T. Kole must collectively pay a $150,000 civil penalty. Additionally, STK, Kole, and other officials of STK are enjoined from violating CPSC’s toy and art material regulations and must comply with an injunction mandating that the company’s toys are tested before importation.

The combined fine is the largest ever to be imposed against a company that violated the small parts requirement. This requirement is aimed at protecting young children from toys that could present a choking or aspiration hazard. This case also represents the first time both civil and criminal fines were levied against a company for toy-related violations.

See details on the CPSC Web page.





Million dollar fine for waiting too long to notify

August 8, 2002 - Release # 02-225

GE Agrees to Pay $1,000,000 Fine for Delay in Reporting Product Defect to CPSC

WASHINGTON, D.C.- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that the General Electric Co. (GE), of Fairfield, Conn., has agreed to pay the Government a $1 million civil penalty. The fine settles allegations that GE knowingly failed to report to CPSC in a timely manner a defect with certain models of dishwashers. Under the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA), manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers must immediately report information about potentially hazardous products to the Commission.

"This settlement puts companies on notice that they must notify CPSC without delay when they learn of product hazards or consumer injuries," said Commission Chairman Hal Stratton. "We intend to enforce these requirements vigorously and there will be serious consequences for companies that fail to report such information quickly. The Commission will investigate and seek penalties against those who violate federal safety laws."

CPSC alleged that beginning in 1992, GE, one of the largest manufacturers of household appliances in the world, became aware of incidents of fire, smoking and melting related to the energy-saver slide switches on six models of dishwashers. The slide switches can overheat, causing the plastic to melt, and in some cases, ignite. Between January 1992 and November 1998, GE received 49 reports of fires that involved melted switches. By the time the company first reported to the Commission in November 1998, it knew of at least 111 incidents involving fire, smoke, or melting of the switches on these dishwashers.

In agreeing to settle this matter, GE denies that it knowingly violated the CPSA.

GE manufactured 3.1 million of the GSD500D, GSD500G, GSD540, HDA467, HDA477, and HDA478 model dishwashers between 1983 and 1989. All of these models have identical slide switches that allow consumers to choose between a heated and non-heated drying cycle. In December 2000, CPSC and GE announced a free repair option in the form of a rewiring for the dishwashers. A GE-authorized technician will rewire the slide switch at no cost to consumers. The rewire program supplements the original rebate program announced in October 1999. In that recall, GE provided consumers with a rebate toward the purchase of a new dishwasher. CPSC and GE announced the supplemental rewiring option to increase the effectiveness of the original rebate program.

Consumers who have one of these recalled dishwashers should immediately discontinue use, unlatch the door, and contact GE anytime at (800) 599-2929 or log on to their website at www.geappliancerecall.com

To see a picture of the recalled product(s) and/or to establish a link from your web site to this press release on CPSC's web site, link to the following address: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml02/02225.html





Jailed for importing non-compliant products

April 9, 2002 - Release # 02-137

California Man Sentenced for Importing Illegal Toys

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that Steve Thai, owner of the now defunct Super Rambo Inc., of Los Angeles, Calif., was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to pay a $20,000 fine for importing children's toys that violate federal law. Thai is the first individual sentenced for a criminal conviction related to CPSC's mandatory children's toy standards.

U.S. District Judge Lourdes G. Baird handed down the sentence against the 41-year-old Thai after he pled guilty in August 2001 to four counts of violating CPSC's small parts requirements for children's toys. The Judge also ordered that Thai, and any company with which he is associated in any way, must conduct pre-importation testing and evaluation to ensure compliance with CPSC's standards.

"CPSC is pleased that the Court is requiring the testing of toys that Thai's companies import," said CPSC Acting Chairman Thomas Moore. "This case should alert all toy importers, manufacturers, and distributors that CPSC is willing to prosecute individuals who place children at risk of serious injury."

Thai's business illegally imported toy trucks, racing cars, planes, wind-up robots, and trains. Despite repeated notice from the CPSC that he was violating the law, Thai continued to import the illegal toys. Toys with small parts are a choking hazard for children under 3.

Every year CPSC recalls numerous children's products that could contribute to unnecessary deaths or injuries. In 2000, there were 151,000 children (under 15 years old) that were treated in hospital emergency rooms due to toy related incidents, resulting in 17 deaths.





Waited too long to report a product defect


July 2, 2002 - Release # 02-194

Court Imposes First Civil Penalty for Failing to Report a Product Hazard
California Firm Fined $300,000 After Waiting Months to Report Defective Juicers

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today a court ruling imposing a $300,000 civil penalty against a firm for not reporting a serious product hazard - the first time such a penalty ever has been awarded by a court for a company's failure to report. The ruling was made in a civil penalty action brought on CPSC's behalf by the Department of Justice's Office of Consumer Litigation against Mirama Enterprises Inc., which does business as Aroma Housewares Co., in San Diego, Calif., a small importer and distributor of juice extractors (juicers) and other household appliances.

"Whenever a company fails to report its knowledge of a hazardous product to CPSC, it will pay a civil penalty that hurts," said CPSC Acting Chairman Thomas Moore. "If the company refuses to settle, we'll get the penalty in court."

U.S. District Court Judge Judith N. Keep, of the Southern District of California, also stressed the deterrent value of civil penalties, saying that there "has to be teeth to the [Consumer Product Safety] Act." Judge Keep noted that not knowing about the statutory requirement, not understanding the defect, or blaming the problem on consumer misuse do not excuse a company from the requirement to report a hazardous product.

Aroma received telephone calls and letters beginning early in 1998 that the juicers were breaking apart and injuring consumers. By the time Aroma reported to CPSC in November 1998, the firm had at least 23 reports of incidents of juicers breaking apart, including reports of injuries to at least 22 consumers. Five of these injuries required stitches and one required surgery for lacerated arteries.

In January 2002, Judge Keep held the company liable before trial, based on the existing evidence and legal arguments. The judge imposed the fine following a separate three-day hearing on an appropriate amount. She heard evidence on several factors including the severity of the risk of injury, Aroma's ability to pay, and Aroma's behavior.

This was the first time ever that a federal court found that a company had violated the reporting statute and ordered a civil penalty. CPSC civil penalties previously collected from companies that failed to report product hazards were paid as a result of voluntary settlements.

Aroma Housewares Co. conducted a joint recall with CPSC of about 40,000 of these juice extractors in June 1999. For more information on the recall, call Aroma at (800) 276-6286 or go the press release at http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PREREL/PRHTML99/99132.html





Jail term for lying to the government.


January 23, 2002 - Release # 02-091

Houston Businessman Pleads Guilty To Making False Statements To Government Officials

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that a 49-year-old Houston, Texas, businessman pleaded guilty to felony charges that he made a false statement to a CPSC investigator and he imported merchandise into the United States by means of false statements.

Chuck Bai-Fun Chen operated three businesses in Houston: Wholesale World Inc., Texas Tech Mart Inc., and USA Maxam Inc., which imported and distributed various consumer products into the United States, including household extension cords and Christmas tree lights. During a CPSC inspection, Chen falsely told a CPSC investigator that he did not import or sell any Christmas tree lights in 1999. At the time he made the statement Chen's company had such lights in inventory. The lights that he imported in 1999 were tested by the CPSC and were found to be substandard. An indictment against Chen, which was filed in October 2001, came about as a result of a CPSC investigation into the safety of products sold by Chen's businesses.

Chen also pleaded guilty to submitting fake invoices to the U.S. Customs Service to understate the value of products he imported to reduce the amount he had to pay on importation duties.

Chen could face up to seven years imprisonment and up to $500,000 in fines when sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein in May 2002.

"We take seriously instances in which an individual provides false information to CPSC investigators," said CPSC Acting Chairman Thomas Moore. "CPSC will take strong action to protect the integrity of our investigations and deter this kind of illegal conduct."

The charges against Mr. Chen were prosecuted by the Office of Consumer Litigation of the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas.





Fined for importing a product violating CPSC regulations


January 25, 2002 - Release # 02-092

Court Upholds Fireworks Penalty Against Shelton Wholesale Inc.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld a $100,000 penalty against Shelton Wholesale Inc., of Eagleton, Mo., for importing fireworks that violated CPSC regulations.

Greg Shelton and his fireworks companies, including Shelton Wholesale, unsuccessfully appealed the district court's finding that CPSC has jurisdiction to regulate consumer fireworks. Mr. Shelton and his companies also failed to convince the appellate court that CPSC denied them their due process rights, that CPSC's evidence had been improperly admitted in court, and that the Shelton companies were entitled to a jury trial. The appellate court agreed with the district court - and with CPSC - on all of these legal issues.

The appellate court also ruled that the case brought by the National Fireworks Association (NFA) against CPSC, making the same assertions as Shelton in the civil penalty case, lacked merit. The district court had ruled for CPSC in the NFA case.

"We're extremely gratified that the federal courts have endorsed CPSC's fireworks program," said CPSC Acting Chairman Thomas Moore. "Our statutory authority and the validity of our enforcement methods can no longer be questioned."

CPSC had charged Shelton with importing fireworks that violated federal regulations because they could malfunction or explode unexpectedly while people are standing nearby, causing injury or death. The U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Consumer Litigation represented CPSC in the Shelton cases.





The courts affirm reporting requirements


January 29, 2002 - Release # 02-094

Court Affirms that Companies Must Report Hazardous Products Immediately to CPSC

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A U.S. district judge has affirmed that companies must report immediately to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) certain information that their products could cause injury or death. The ruling was made in a civil penalty action by the U.S. government against Mirama Enterprises Inc., which does business as Aroma Housewares Co., in San Diego, Calif., an importer of juice extractors (or juicers).

Aroma received telephone calls and letters beginning early in 1998 that the juicers were breaking apart and injuring consumers. By the time Aroma reported to CPSC in November 1998, it had at least 23 reports of incidents of juicers breaking apart, including reports of injuries to at least 22 consumers. Five of these injuries required stitches and one required surgery.

Judge Judith N. Keep in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California held the company liable before trial, based on the existing evidence and legal arguments. The judge noted that "companies are specifically advised to over-report rather than under-report." She added that the thrust of the Consumer Product Safety Act "is to impose on companies in the consumer product business a duty to report fully and immediately so that the Commission might protect the public safety."

The court found that the incidents reported to Aroma were "enough for a reasonable person to be able to conclude that the juicer posed an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death. ... The standard is a 'reasonable person' standard, not a 'reasonable expert' standard."

"The court's ruling strongly supports what the CPSC has been telling companies for years," said CPSC Acting Chairman Thomas Moore.

"The sooner we learn of a problem, the sooner we can inform consumers and protect them from further injury and death."

The court will now consider the amount of penalty that Aroma must pay for failing to report the unsafe juicers. The Department of Justice's Office of Consumer Litigation is representing CPSC in the case.

Aroma Housewares Co. conducted a joint recall with CPSC of about 40,000 of these juice extractors in June 1999. For more information on the recall, call Aroma at (800) 276-6286 or go the press release at http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PREREL/PRHTML99/99132.html.





Fined for not reporting injuries to children


February 13, 2002 - Release # 02-102

California Company Agrees To Pay $75,000 Fine For Failure To Report Infant Carrier Defect

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced today that MTS Products Inc., of Northridge, Calif., has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $75,000 to settle allegations that the company failed to report serious defects with its infant carriers. Under the Consumer Product Safety Act, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers must immediately report product defects to the Commission.

In March 1996, MTS manufactured and distributed over 18,000 infant carriers under the brand names "J. Mason Infant Carriers" (Model number 12502), "Squiggles" (Model number 12505), and "Aurora Dreams" (Model number 12506). Between June 6, 1996 and February 24, 1997, MTS received seven reports of the infant carrier's handle breaking during use, causing infants to fall to the ground or floor. Several children suffered injuries, including bruises, cuts and abrasions to their faces.

MTS failed to report these injuries to the Commission.

In agreeing to settle this matter, MTS denies that it violated the Commission's reporting requirements.

CPSC and MTS Products announced the recall of the infant carriers in December 1997. The white plastic infant carrier comes with a fabric seat pad and matching removable sun shade canopy. The fabric comes in the following designs: 1) multicolored fabric (pink, blue, white and green) with a geometric pattern, 2) light blue fabric with white squiggly lines, or 3)light blue fabric with pink and purple patterns. "J. MASON" is imprinted on the carrier's handle, which can be used to convert the carrier to a rocking or feeding position. "MADE IN U.S.A." is imprinted on the bottom of the carrier and there is a red sticker on the bottom of the carrier that reads, "Warning: Do Not Use As A Car Seat."

Consumers who have the recalled carrier should call MTS at (800) 242-1922 to receive a free replacement infant carrier.





Jailed just for lying to the US government!


April 21, 2000 - Release # 00-101

Tennessee Man Sentenced to Prison for Making False Statements to CPSC in Cigarette Lighter Case



WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that a 51-year-old Memphis, Tenn., man was sentenced on federal charges for making a false statement to a CPSC investigator. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee sentenced Donald M. Anthony, a former distributor of cigarette lighters, to 2 years in prison for lying to a CPSC investigator about removing child- resistant mechanisms from disposable cigarette lighters.

Anthony operated National Marketing, a now-defunct Memphis business that distributed cigarette lighters to convenience stores and other distributors nationwide. Anthony made false statements about whether National Marketing was removing the child-resistant mechanisms from lighters and then reselling them.

"This case will alert companies that CPSC aggressively enforces our safety standards and will pursue individuals and companies who undermine our investigations," said CPSC Chairman Ann Brown. "The cigarette lighter standard prevents fires and saves lives - especially the lives of children."

Before cigarette lighters were required to be child-resistant, an average of 150 persons were killed and nearly 1,100 injured each year as a result of residential fires started by children younger than 5 who were playing with lighters. Average annual property damage from such fires totaled almost $70 million. The child-resistant standard is expected to prevent about 100 deaths annually.

The CPSC has launched investigations across the country in the past two years to recall lighters that do not meet federal standards and to prosecute companies and individuals that disable the child-resistant mechanisms.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission protects the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death from 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or visit CPSC's web site at http://www.cpsc.gov/talk.html. For information on CPSC's fax-on-demand service, call the above numbers or visit the web site at (http://cpsc.gov/about/who.html. To order a press release through fax-on-demand, call (301) 504-0051 from the handset of your fax machine and enter the release number. Consumers can obtain this release and recall information at CPSC's web site at http://www.cpsc.gov. To establish a link from your web site to this press release on CPSC's web site, create a link to the following address: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml00/00101.html.





Jail sentence for reselling recalled products

April 9, 1999 - Release # 99-093

Toy Importer Sentenced in Criminal Case

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that Dan Dee International Inc., of Jersey City, N.J., was sentenced to pay a criminal penalty of $40,000, after pleading guilty to four counts of selling banned children's toys. After recalling thousands of Teddy Precious Collectible Bears, Dan Dee resold approximately 8,000 of them in 1996 to another company that later sold them to consumers. Sales of banned products violate the Federal Hazardous Substances Act.

The teddy bears, which have not been sold since 1996, contained small removable parts and presented the risk that young children could choke to death on the parts. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio sentenced Dan Dee, immediately after accepting its guilty plea.

CPSC Chairman Ann Brown said, "Once again, CPSC is putting companies on notice that it violates the criminal law to sell dangerous children's products. We will aggressively pursue actions like this one to protect the safety of American children."

Acting Assistant Attorney General David W. Ogden commented, "Our efforts in prosecuting this case will send a message to companies that sell toys - we are very serious about the safety of children." The Civil

Division's Office of Consumer Litigation, in the Department of Justice, handled the prosecution of this case, which is the first to arise out of CPSC's investigation of these matters.





Fined for knowingly selling dangerous cribs

February 17, 1998 - Release # 98-068

Coaster Company of America to Pay $300,000 Civil Penalty

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that COA Inc., d/b/a Coaster Company of America, of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $300,000 to settle allegations that it violated the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA) and the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA).

Cribs the company sold pose entrapment and choking hazards to babies that could lead to serious injury or death.

CPSC alleges that from January 1993 through December 1996, the Coaster Company of America imported and sold approximately 940 of its model 2368 full-size, metal baby cribs, and from June 1996 through April 1997, imported and sold approximately 900 of its model 2364 full-size, metal baby cribs, both of which violated the Requirements for Full-Sized Baby Cribs under the FHSA. Additionally, the firm was in possession of independent laboratory test results which showed that model 2364 had a design defect which should have been reported to the Commission in accordance with the CPSA. The Coaster Company of America not only failed to report this matter to the Commission, but it continued to sell the cribs.





Jailed for not labeling hazardous product

January 28, 1998 - Release # 98-059

Company President Sentenced to Jail for CPSC Violations

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that John D'Angelo, owner and president of Utility Free Inc., a Colorado-based distributor of alternative energy products, was sentenced to nearly two years in jail for violating two laws enforced by CPSC. Mr. D'Angelo pled guilty to 15 counts of improperly shipping hazardous substances, including a highly corrosive, clear electrolyte solution. In December 1993, 15-year-old Justin Pulliam mistook the solution for water because Mr. D'Angelo had shipped it in a reused plastic one-gallon milk container that lacked appropriate warnings. The teenager drank it and died two weeks later from severe internal injuries.

The Federal Hazardous Substances Act prohibits the shipment of hazardous substances in reused food containers and without proper warning labels that contain safety information. The Poison Prevention Packaging Act requires that certain chemicals be marketed in child-resistant packaging. Mr. D'Angelo violated both laws. His sentence is the longest jail time ever imposed for violations of laws enforced by CPSC.

CPSC Chairman Ann Brown said, "These important federal laws are intended to prevent exactly the kind of tragedy that killed Justin. We will vigorously pursue everyone who flouts our laws and puts consumers at risk." Chairman Brown also noted that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment first brought Mr. D'Angelo's violations to CPSC's attention. "This was a perfect example of how state and federal authorities working together can protect the public," she said.

Mr. D'Angelo also shipped improperly labeled potassium hydroxide and lithium hydroxide in solid form. In addition, he kept selling the potassium hydroxide in non-child- resistant containers (plastic bags with twist-tie or resealable plastic bags), even after CPSC told him that such sales violated federal law.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado sentenced Mr. D'Angelo to 700 days in jail (approximately 23 months), to be followed by one year of supervised release, in the case of U.S. v. Utility Free Inc. and John D'Angelo (No. 97-CR-312).




This page was last revised on: March 18, 2008.

Contact us.

Home How2Buy Helmets Children Promotions Pamphlets Statistics Laws Standards
Quick New Briefs Services Press Links Sitemap Search Contact