We have posted more than a thousand complaints so far to the public database since it was launched two months ago. At this rate we will have more than 6,000 reports after a year of operation. It’s a fact that the agency investigates less than 10% of the reports that are received, and there is no obligation to publish the results of those investigations, unless that investigation results in a recall. That raises the question of the validity of the overwhelming majority of the reports on the database. Some may well be valid and others are not. We include at the bottom of the database pages a disclaimer that the CPSC does not attest to the accuracy of the database’s information. So what stock should consumers place in the information in the public database?
To try to answer this question, I did a search of the generic category for “shoes,” then focused on toning shoes I found reports of people complaining of sore muscles from walking in toning shoes. I found people complaining of tripping, apparently because of these shoes. I found a complaint of sore feet after working out in these shoes.
My concern, and the reason I raise this example, is that it would be most unfortunate if these complaints were to divert the agency’s attention away from high priority hazards to deal with things like toning shoes. I hope that the agency has sufficient discipline to keep its focus on truly unsafe products. If we do not have that discipline, then high-heel wearers beware: We all know that 4-inch spikes are dangerous and should be banned.