Monday January 03, 2022
SaferProducts Submissions Increased During 2021
There was an increase in SaferProducts.gov submissions in FY2021 compared to FY2020. That ran counter to recent trends, which saw a decline from more than 15,000 submissions in FY2015 to fewer than 10,000 in FY2020. A December 15 agency report (bit.ly/3EGg29w) estimated the FY2021 tally to be roughly 10,700.
Although most submissions still do not pass review for publication, eligible ones rose from about 30% during FY2020 to about 39% during FY2021. Indeed, the FY2021 portion was the highest since FY2017.
The report linked this increase to September 2020 updates to the public-facing part of the database. Better usability had been one of staffers' targets for those changes (PSL, 7/6/20).
Looking at FY2015-FY2021 trends, the top reasons submissions were unpublishable were failure to attest to accuracy (59%), failure to give consent to publish (7%), and failure to provide contact information (6%). Other reasons were products being out of CPSC jurisdiction, problems identifying responsible companies, lack of incident dates, product description deficiencies, and submitters' affiliations.
There also was a catchall "other" that was a tiny portion. Mostly unexplained, the report identified one such reason: the submitter being a juvenile.
The authors additionally noted that over the seven years, "A failure to describe the risk of harm accounted for approximately 10 percent of all reports and 15 percent of unpublished reports." A narrative description of an injury, illness or death is one of the eligibility criteria, but they did not explain why some deemed to lack it still get published.
In FY2021, the figure for unpublished reports that lacked risk descriptions was at about 14%.
Submissions from medical examiners are the top category of unpublishable submissions, representing about 61% of those in FY2021. Staffers suggested, "These reports are potentially eligible for publication, but seldom include all the required elements for publication in SaferProducts.gov."
Many unpublished submissions nonetheless are mixed into the incident data available from the National Injury Information Clearinghouse.