The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) was created by the Consumer Product Safety Act of 1972 to protect the public against unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with a wide range of consumer products. The rationale for this act came from a national commission study on product safety, which found that 20 million Americans were injured severely enough every year because of product-related accidents to require medical treatment. Some 110,000 of these people were permanently disabled and 30,000 were killed at a cost to the country of more than $5.5 billion annually. Thus, a crisis situation was believed to exist that demanded government attention, and the solution was direct regulation.

From an ethical point of view, it was believed that market forces alone did not ...

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