Product Failure: The Worst of the 21st Century, Part II

Product Failure: The Worst of the 21st Century, Part II

rack-of-tires-642056-mIn my most recent blog post, I discussed some of the worst recalls since the turn of the century.  In just 14 years, there have been an awful lot of horrific accidents stemming from product malfunctions and defective products.  Those incidents have led to permanent disability, disfigurement, and even death in some instances.  As mentioned previously, many times these cases hit far too close to our St. Petersburg homes for comfort, which is why it is so important to be a vigilant consumer, aware of current recalls and always on the look-out for potential hazards.  For now, let us continue our list of the worst product failures of the 2000s.

Take It On the Road. Few think of the recall list without drumming up pictures of Firestone tires.  In 2000, 14 million were pulled from the market when it was discovered that they were prone to pull apart while on the road.  The rubber literally came loose, causing numerous accidents and the CPSC’s decisive action.  This wasn’t the most recent encounter Firestone had with the safety organization either.

In 2009, Ford faced just as bad a recall when it pulled 14 million vehicles after approximately 550 automobile fires due to faulty cruise control switches.  Though it was more than 14 years ago, few will forget Ford’s biggest run in with the CPSC in 1978 when the Ford Pinto was shown to be nothing more than a fire hazard on wheels.  The company’s track record with recalls hasn’t improved a lot since.

In the Comfort of Your Saint Petersburg Home. Very often, recalls are made for products commonly found in American homes.  For instance, the 2009 recall that involved 50 million Roman-style blinds impacted people all over the country.  This pull from the market came after six child fatalities were found to be due to strangulation associated with the blinds.

Then, in 2007, the CPSC forced the recall of 300,000 Holmes brand electric heaters after more than a dozen burn reports.

Overseas. Don’t be fooled into thinking that American manufacturers are worse than those in other countries, or that Americans are any less weary of potentially flawed products. Some of the very worst recalls of the 21st Century did not occur in this country, but instead more directly impacted people living overseas.

Perhaps the most disturbing to many people is the case involving the discovery of small, white worms in a well-known brand of chocolates.  As it turned out, the chocolates were counterfeited and made by a Chinese company.  This discovery was made in 2007 and consumers worldwide were absolutely disgusted.  Fortunately, no one was injured as a result of the mishap, but surely the company whose logo appeared on the wrappers likely suffered a big hit in sales for some time afterward.

China was in the spotlight once again a few years ago when four infant deaths were reported along with several thousand hospitalizations.  The cause was discovered to be tainted formula.  The milk-based product fed to babies throughout that country was contaminated with melamine, which is a chemical regularly used in plastics and adhesives.

In America, personal injury attorneys are armed and ready to take on negligent manufacturers when a family is left distraught over an accident resulting from a faulty product.  It is possible to recoup medical and repair expenses.  In addition, courts will often order that the company pay for lost wages, as well as pain and suffering.