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How Can You Be Sure That Product You’re Buying Is Safe?

Quality Control stamp signifies a product has been tested for safety before being sold to consumersMost consumers assume that before a product hits the store’s shelf it has been tested and has met established safety standards. Not necessarily.

According to a recent Consumer Reports article, the Consumer Protection Safety Commission oversees some 15,000 product categories; however, only about 70 of those categories are required to meet a mandatory safety standard, meaning they must comply with federally established safety requirements. The rest of the product categories are subject to voluntary, rather than mandatory, safety standards. Manufacturers of these products sometimes comply with the voluntary standards and sometimes they do not.

One way consumers can protect themselves against purchasing hazardous protects is to read the product label, although the references on these labels may not be clear. For explanations of some of the more common references and other ways you can tell if a product has been vetted, read “Is This Safe to Buy? How Dangerous Products Get—and Stay—on the Market.”

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