Hammocks, treadmills, appliances, food and computers. America's favorite Mattel toys. What's next on the recall list, ask reeling consumers? A recent review of data shows the number of U.S. recalls has skyrocketed more than 50 percent in just the past six years, reports the San Bernardino County Sun.
Last year alone, the Consumer Product Safety Commission listed 467 recalls. There have already been more than 400 recalls this year, from baby supplies to lead-tainted toys. The reasons behind the disturbing trend are unfolding, and include increasing outsourcing overseas (especially in booming China, which has recently admitted to some oversight problems and corruption). In fact, outsourcing abroad has swelled by 70 percent over the past 10 years.
Another factor is the increasingly aggressive push for lower and lower prices, in part spurred by the late Sam Walton's business theories and the runaway success of his brand Wal-Mart. Underfunded and understaffed U.S. agencies are clearly part of the picture, as well as the fact that most recalls are technically voluntary. There are also delays in the process once a company does decide to announce a recall.
Watchdogs are calling for more government oversight and better, not to mention faster, processes of notification to get the word out about potentially dangerous products. The health of the nation could hang in the balance.
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