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If you own a business that makes a product sold to the public, your general liability policy will include coverage for what is termed "products/completed operations."  Usually there is a hefty premium for this component of your liability policy, and for good reason:  A product that causes injury, or death, can lead to extensive civil, even criminal, litigation.  Some of the top product recalls, over the years, have made national and international news.  What are they?  We turned to  to find out:

*Baby Slings.  Some 1 million Infantino SlingRider baby slings were recalled in March of 2010, after they were linked to three infant deaths.  The recall followed the Consumer Product Safety Commission's prior warning that sling-style carriers pose a suffocation risk, especially in babies under four months.  The slings, which hold the child close to the mother's chest, can suffocate a baby within minutes if the fabric presses against its nose or mouth.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced it was investigating at least 14 deaths in the last 20 years to see if they were associated with the slings. 


*Toyota's Faulty Pedals.  In January of 2010, the world's largest automaker issued a recall--its second in three months--on 4.1 million vehicles sold in the U.S. and Europe to fix faulty gas pedals that have a tendency to get stuck, causing unintended acceleration.  This was on top of a November, 2009, recall of 5.3 million cars believed to have ill-fitting floor mats that have a tendency to trap pedals.  In total, more than 9 million cars worldwide have been pulled back for pedal-related flaws.  That's a lot of cars.  The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee announced plans to investigate the recall and whether the Japanese-based automaker needlessly put the public at risk. 


*One Bad Bump.  The Ford Pinto was a famously bad automobile, but worse still might be Ford's handling of the safety concerns surrounding the '70s-era subcompact.  Before the car ever reached the market, concerns emerged that a rear-end collision might cause the Pinto to blow up--the positioning of the fuel tank sparked fears it could be punctured in a crash and cause a fire or an explosion.  After several lawsuits and criminal charges (Ford was eventually found not guilty), the automaker recalled 1.5 million Pintos in 1978, retrofitting the fuel tank assembly with additional protections to prevent the Pinto from going up in flames.  But the damage to the car's reputation was done; in 1981 the Pinto was retired for good.


*Tylenol Tragedies.  In the fall of 1982, seven people in the Chicago area died after ingesting Extra-Strength Tylenol laced with potassium cyanide.  The crime--which has never been solved--sparked a citywide panic; for days, police cruised the streets, blaring warnings that residents should discard the product.  The Tylenol poisonings also prompted a slew of copycats.  Over the ensuing months, authorities tallied 270 different incidents of product-tampering, from pins unearthed in Halloween candy on Long Island, New York, to Excedrin laced with mercuric chloride in Colorado.  Johnson & Johnson spent millions of dollars recalling Tylenol from stores nationwide.  To prevent a recurrence, the FDA mandated new tamper-proof seals for over-the-counter drugs. 


*Tires, Treads & Tragedy.  In 2000, Bridgestone/Firestone recalled 6.5 million Firestone tires involved in one of the most dangerous product faults in automobile history--a tendency for tire failure that caused nearly 175 deaths and more than 700 injuries.  The treads on certain Firestone tire models would peel off, causing them to blow out--which could cause certain cars and SUVs, like the Ford Explorer, to roll over.  Later that year, Firestone competitor Goodyear had its own tire troubles:  tread separations in certain light trucks were linked to about 120 injuries and 15 deaths. 

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