Many people prefer to shop online via retailers like Amazon, especially during the crowded holiday season. All consumers, however, should be aware that Amazon makes thousands of unsafe items available for purchase on its website. Included in the 4,100 dangerous products identified by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) are cosmetics, medications, motorcycle helmets, and items meant for babies and children.
Explore some of the most hazardous products below:
Lead in Children’s Toys
Lead is a toxic substance and children under 6 are especially susceptible to its negative effects. Over time, lead can build up and cause behavioral problems, developmental delays, lead poisoning, and even death.
Of the 4,100 products the WSJ flagged as unsafe, more than 2,324 were toys. Some toys lacked warning labels, others violated federal safety standards, and more still were found to contain unsafe levels of lead.
Tests commissioned by the WSJ revealed a xylophone containing 4 times the legal limit of lead and a set of yellow maracas that had 411 times the limit. These products were touted as “safe and reliable for little children” and some were highlighted as “Amazon’s Choice” products, indicating both quality and good value.
Toxic Skincare Products
Liquid mercury is banned in the U.S. due to its dangerous effects on the body and the environment. Nevertheless, a Vice article published in July 2019 outlines an ongoing battle between Amazon and public officials over dangerous levels of mercury in skin creams sold on its site.
Additionally, Vice and the WSJ have each identified cosmetic products containing various chemicals linked to birth defects, kidney problems, and permanent scarring available for sale on Amazon.
Non-Compliant Motorcycle Helmets
In 2014, a motorcyclist was struck and killed by a pickup truck while wearing a motorcycle helmet he purchased on Amazon. The product was later recalled by the Department of Transportation (DoT) and declared non-compliant, but it remained on the site and available for purchase. The motorcyclist’s mother reportedly sued Amazon; the company settled for $5,000 without admitting fault.
Other Dangerous Goods
Amazon was recently held liable for an allegedly faulty dog leash that blinded a customer in one eye. Similarly, the company was sued for a hoverboard, which caught fire and forced 2 children to jump from a second-story window and lose “all of their possessions” to the blaze. In August of 2019, the Supreme Court of Ohio agreed to review a wrongful death suit linked to a teenager’s consumption of pre-workout caffeine powder purchased on Amazon.
How Can I Stay Safe?
Exercise caution while shopping online and be wary of discounts that seem “too good to be true,” as well as off-brand products.
If you do purchase a dangerous product off Amazon, and you suffer harm as a result, our attorneys can help you hold the manufacturer accountable. In certain situations, we may also be able to hold Amazon responsible for your injuries and/or losses.
We can be reached 24/7 at (512) 271-5112, and our firm offers free consultations, which you can schedule online.