Consumer Product Safety

  • Donald Vesley


The vast array of products available to the American consumer presents a particularly perplexing challenge to the concept of human health and the environment. In a free market economy, there is a constant bombardment of hucksterism designed to convince the public to buy, use, and consume this never-ending parade of products. Because liability for harmful defects lies with the seller, people assume that such products, when used as intended, will do the consumer no harm. However, as much as we would like to believe that our lives in this consumer-oriented society can be risk free, we know that isn’t the case. In fact, all products carry some combination of risk and benefit, and our use or consumption of them becomes a very complex tradeoff.


Consumer Protection Tobacco Company Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Chlorinate Water Traffic Fatality 
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Useful references in the area of consumer product safety and pertinent regulations include

  1. American Association for the Advancement of Science. 1987. “Risk Assessment Issues.” (6 articles). Science. 236: 267–302.Google Scholar
  2. Dyer, K. S. and K. Sexton. 1996. “What can research contribute to regulatory decisions about the health risk of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.” Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 24: S139 - S151.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Findley, R. W. and Farber, D. A. 1992. Environmental Law in a Nutshell. West Publishing Co. St. Paul, MN.Google Scholar
  4. Graham, J. O. and J. B. Winer (Eds.) 1995. Risk vs. Risk Tradeoffs in Protecting Health and the Environment. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald Vesley
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Public HealthUniversity of MinnesotaUSA

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