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Law Topics >  Cause of Injuries > Recalls

Every year, thousands of products, ranging from foods, drugs and medical devices to toys and automobile tires, are recalled from the market due to defects that may represent a hazard to consumers. In the majority of instances, the manufacturers or distributors of recalled products withdraw them from the market voluntarily. In other instances, a government agency in charge of supervising a certain product category informs a company of findings from an investigation and requests a recall. Usually, the company will comply. If a company is deemed noncompliant, legal action may be taken.

Recalls can occur for a number of reasons. A company may manufacture a product with a design flaw that fails to meet government safety standards. Products may be tampered with, accidentally contaminated or even deemed dangerous because of new scientific information regarding a material ingredient of the product. Recall statistics can be staggering. In August 2000, Bridgestone / Firestone recalled six million tires due to a safety-related defect involving tire tread separation that was linked to hundreds of deaths. To date, over ten million tires, mostly equipped on SUVs, have been recalled.

While a recall leads to a fiscal and emotional nightmare for the company involved, a thorough withdrawal of any defective product often saves countless lives. For instance, analysts believe the Firestone tire recall prevented hundreds of fatal automobile accidents.