You might have thought that the cheap one-year old air purifier you saw on Craigslist today was a great deal, but what if it could be a fire hazard? Or what about that great baby carrier they have at the children's consignment store downtown? It may be one that has been recalled due to falls that have fractured the skulls of babies. I don't want to create a post about fear, but it is true that there are a lot of products out there that have some hidden dangers that might not be apparent at first. And that is another reason to choose to buy second hand items. Not only is it a more sustainable practice than buying a new product, there is also a lot more information out there about older products since they have already been used by plenty of consumers. The first place to start on your research should be a look into Product Safety Recalls.
For instance, you want to buy a used vehicle you found in the classifieds. If you look up the year, make and model on this page of Recalls.gov you can see if there have been any recalls on it. From searching this website, I discovered that a used vehicle I onced had was recalled for a possible leak in the fuel system at the throttle body injection fuel feed pipe connection. I have no idea what that means, but according to the website that leakage could result in an underhood fire and my ass turning to ashes. So I'm sure glad I don't have that car anymore, but wouldn't it have been nice to have known that before I bought it?
Another good resource for Product Safety Recalls is the Federal Citizen Information Center. This website provides a guide to understanding recalls, lists recent product safety recalls, and allows you to sign up to be notified by email with updates. So if you keep on top of things, you may even be able to realize that the cute little Christmas figurine at your neighbor's garage sale is one of those that Home Depot recalled for lead paint. And you can save yourself that $.05 you would have paid for it and tell your neighbor to get his kid checked for lead poisoning. Fun stuff, huh?!