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Up-to-date information about a dangerous product can save a life

It may seem like you hear about them on the news almost every day. A car has been recalled due to a defective airbag that sprays metal parts like shrapnel when it inflates. A baby stroller has been recalled due to a faulty hinge that can cause the stroller to collapse or to amputate fingers. A warning has been issued about laundry detergent pods because children eat them because they look like candy.

But what about the lesser-known risks that are not significant enough to be reported by the national news media? How do you know if you have a potentially dangerous product in your possession? Or, how do you know whether a product that has already caused damage or injured someone is on the recall list?

Fortunately, the Internet now has excellent resources for this information. The Consumer Products Safety Commission website is one of the best sources. The CPSC is the government agency in charge of ensuring the safety of consumer products. According to the agency's website, injuries, property damage and deaths caused by defective consumer products drain the U.S. economy of over $1 trillion annually.

The agency's information on recalled products is searchable, so if you have a concern about a specific product, you can find out easily if that product has been reported by other consumers or by its manufacturer or seller. The products are also listed chronologically with the latest recall at the top of the page.

You can even search by geography to see if companies close to you have had recalls. For example, a search for "Texas" reveals that defective Christmas lights have been imported into the U.S. by a company based in Texas.

Of course, just knowing about the defective product after you have been injured cannot undo the damage. At that point, your best source of information about how to pursue a claim, in order to possibly be compensated for the damage is an attorney with knowledge of product liability laws. 

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