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7 Infamous Product Recalls to Remember

7 of the Most Infamous Product Recalls in History -1

Product recalls remind us safety is paramount in a world filled with innovation and convenience. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) plays a crucial role in highlighting potential risks and ensuring consumer protection. Join us as we explore seven infamous product recalls that resulted in consumer injury or death.

1. Hasbro's Easy-Bake Oven

In February 2007, almost 1 million Easy-Bake Ovens were recalled after reports of entrapment and burn hazards surfaced, with 29 incidents of children getting their hands stuck and five resulting in burns. Hasbro's response included warnings to parents, prepaid return shipping, and vouchers for alternative Hasbro products.


A safety grate was added to the oven after the February recall, but by the end of the year there were more injury reports, including a 5-year-old child whose burn was so severe part of their finger had to be amputated.

In total, the CPSC received about 249 complaints of children getting their hands stuck, with 77 of them reporting burns.


2. Merck's Vioxx Drug

In 1999, pharmaceutical company Merck introduced an arthritis drug, Vioxx, after gaining FDA approval. Shortly after, alarming data emerged linking Vioxx to heart problems and death, which led to a voluntary worldwide recall in 2004. Despite the drug's initial success with $2.5 billion in sales in 2003, Merck was criticized for not researching the drug more aggressively and paid nearly $5 billion to settle personal injury lawsuits. This incident underscores the importance of pharmaceutical oversight.

3. Johnson & Johnson's Extra-Strength Tylenol

In 1982, seven deaths in Chicago were linked to Extra-Strength Tylenol laced with potassium cyanide. Johnson & Johnson's recall response went beyond product retrieval, costing more than $100 million. The incident prompted the FDA to mandate tamper-proof seals on over-the-counter drugs. While subsequent recalls occurred, none matched the scale of the "Chicago Tylenol Murders."


4. Infantino's Baby Slings Deaths

In 2010, Infantino recalled approximately 1 million SlingRider and Wendy Bellissimo baby slings linked to three infant deaths. The recall addressed the suffocation risk posed by the design, emphasizing the importance of safe baby products. Infantino's response included a warning, urging consumers to stop using the slings and offering free replacements.

5. Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. Tire Deaths

The year 2000 witnessed a recall of 6.5 million Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. tires linked to nearly 175 deaths and more than 700 injuries. Tread peeling off contributed to a high failure rate, particularly in SUVs and trucks. The ensuing federal investigation and lawsuits led to a finger-pointing feud between Bridgestone/Firestone and Ford, illustrating just how complex automotive recalls can be.


6. Ace Bayou Corporation Bean Bag Chair Deaths

Bean bag chairs, once a symbol of comfort, faced a decline when Ace Bayou Corp recalled 2.2 million units in 2014. The recall followed two tragic deaths of children who suffocated after opening the chairs. Ace Bayou's response included non-refillable designs and free repair kits to disable zippers, reinforcing the importance of child-proofing products.

7. Simplicity Drop-Side Crib Recalls

In 2008, Simplicity's drop-side cribs faced a recall involving 600,000 units due to entrapment and suffocation hazards. Hardware issues led to detachment, creating gaps that endangered infants and toddlers. Simplicity's recall history and tragic incidents underscored the necessity of stringent crib safety standards.

These product recalls came with valuable lessons — emphasizing the importance of proactive safety measures, strict regulations, and corporate responsibility. Today, information on product safety is more readily available than ever, and as a result, consumers are better equipped to make informed choices.

References: One million Hasbro Easy-Bake Ovens recalled | Top 10 Product Recalls | 10 of the Most Famous (or Infamous) Product Recalls

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