Congressman calls on online platforms to remove recalled products linked to infant death

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Wednesday, August 30, 2023
Lawmaker calls on sites to remove infant products linked to deaths
Lawmakers in New Jersey are calling on online marketplaces to remove dangerous, recalled products that have been linked to infant deaths. Toni Yates has more.

ABERDEEN, New Jersey (WABC) -- Lawmakers in New Jersey are calling on online marketplaces to remove dangerous, recalled products that have been linked to infant deaths.

Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. held a press conference Tuesday morning and announced that he has sent a series of bipartisan oversight letters to Meta and other online platforms.

While the products in question have been pulled from store shelves, they can still be found on some online marketplaces like Facebook and eBay.

Pallone, who heads the bipartisan Energy and Commerce Commission, said he sent the letters to the most popular resell platforms last week to demand answers on how they monitor recalled items.

"Part of the problem is that when someone goes on Facebook or Etsy or eBay, they assume there is policing by the platform so that there are no recalled items being sold -- the reality is that's not true," Pallone said.

Pallone said there are two specific products in the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission that have caused more than 100 infant deaths. They include the Fisher Price Rock 'n Play and the Boppy Newborn Lounger.

The Rock 'n Play sleeper has been linked to 100 infant deaths, with approximately 70 of those occurring after the product was first recalled in 2019. As of June, the Boppy Newborn Lounger has been linked to the deaths of at least 10 infants.

Eyewitness News found dozens of infant and baby products on some of the online resell platforms that have been recalled. Some were selling for as little as $1.

It is against the law to offer a product that has been recalled by the CPSC, and over the last two years, Pallone said the CPSC has sent thousands of takedown requests to Meta and other platforms in connection to just those two products alone.

Joyce Davis, the president of Keeping Babies Safe, said the products are recalled because they are extremely dangerous. She has been on an infant safety mission for years and is encouraging parents to make sure they are not buying or posting any recalled items that pose a risk of death to children.

"Google it, google the product, the minute you google a product you will see that there have been tragedies, deaths and recalls to stop using this product immediately," Davis said. "As a parent of a tragedy I beg parents not to use any product that has been recalled or these infant loungers because one infant death is too many."

CPCS Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric released a statement after Pallone's press conference to commend his efforts:

"I'm encouraged to see lawmakers working in a bipartisan way to hold these platforms accountable for the safety of the products sold on their sites. With the immense resources and reach these marketplaces have, there's no good reason they can't keep recalled and violative products off their sites. The burden should not fall on consumers to weed out illegal products. CPSC has been pushing platforms to prioritize consumer product safety and I welcome Congressional and legislative support in this effort."

A Meta spokesperson said they take the issue seriously and remove the listings that violate their rules:

"Like other platforms where people can buy and sell goods, there are instances of people knowingly or unknowingly selling recalled goods on Marketplace," the spokesperson said. "We take this issue seriously and when we find listings that violate our rules, we remove them."

A spokesperson for eBay also released a statement saying they take the product recalls very seriously:

"eBay works closely with a range of regulatory agencies across the world to promote product safety and protect consumers from unsafe products. We take product recalls very seriously and monitor announcements from the CPSC to ensure recalled items are blocked or removed. eBay actively enforces our Product Safety Policy using highly trained investigators, artificial intelligence, and image detection to proactively identify potentially unsafe products. eBay's product safety filter algorithms blocked 4.8 million listings in 2022. We look forward to continuing to work with the House Energy and Commerce Committee and other relevant stakeholders on these important consumer safety issues."

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