At a press conference last July, the chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission was welcomed to Chicago by some powerful consumer advocates who, not so long ago, were outspoken critics of the agency.
At the time, chairwoman Inez Tenenbaum was sure to make the point: "The CPSC of 2010 is not the CPSC of the past."
Tenenbaum was in Chicago to announce strict new recall guidelines, an area widely perceived to be the agency's Achilles Heel in recent years. Tenenbaum acknowledged the stumbles of the past, but also told NBC Chicago the agency is looking to the future, demanding cooperation from industry and inviting consumers to access the agency's vast database of recall information.
One way they can do that, she says, is to download a free application for Android phones that consumers can take shopping with them.
Inside a store, a shopper can plug in the name of a product or scan a barcode to see if there is a history of recall troubles.