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CPSC and FDA: Compare scope of influence and authority for effectiveness

The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) and the FDA are two important agencies charged with protecting the U.S. public.

As you read about these two agencies, compare them in terms of the scope of their respective influences and authority.

The CPSC website gives information about its mission.
Go to
Click About CPSC.
Read the page., the Foundation for Economic Education (libertarian website), has an article criticizing the CPSC.
Go to
Read "Let the Market Protect Consumer Safety" by John Hood.

The FDA's Frequently Asked Questions page provides information about its mission.
Go to
Read the FAQs.

The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, has a policy analysis that advocates dismantling the FDA.
Go to
In "Search" type "Replace FDA."
Read "Replace FDA Regulation of Medical Devices with Third-Party Certification," by Noel Campbell.

Discussion Question

How have the CPSC and the FDA affected you as a consumer? Give at least three specific examples. In your opinion, how effective are these agencies in ensuring product safety and quality?

Solution Preview

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) affects me as a consumer, by investigating reports of faulty consumer products that have the potential to cause serious injury or have already caused numerous cases of injury. Specifically, I have used information from this agency to avoid making a purchase of an infant product that had caused severe eye injury. Recently I considered two different models of a convection oven to purchase. Both products received plenty of positive customer reviews, though a few customers complained about one model overheating. To make sure I did not purchase a product with a known problem, I search the list of recalled ...

Solution Summary

The solution compares the scope of influence and authority for effectiveness for the CPSC and the FDA.