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August 1974

Are Consumer Products Dangerous?

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, EJ Meyer Memorial Hospital, Buffalo, NY.

Arch Surg. 1974;109(2):283-286. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1974.01360020143027

Hazardous products must be identified and eliminated to reduce the number of accidents. To conduct ongoing surveillance of the problem, the Food and Drug Administration has set up manageable definitions of consumer products. Using these definitions, the authors recorded 2,800 cases of consumer product-related injuries seen in the emergency room of a large county hospital during 1972. They represented 5% of all emergency room visits. The majority of the injuries associated with the defined products were minor in nature and confined to the extremities. Most (45%) were lacerations. Only 1% of the patients required hospital admission, almost half because of major fractures. There were no deaths. Although certain hazardous products such as stairs and bicycles would be difficult to modify or eliminate, continuing investigation with pooling of results at the national level is essential groundwork on which to build future consumer protection.