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Consumer protection is a very important aspect of quality of life. Many of the major recalls of defective products and stopping dangerous practices, such as the contamination of Love Canal, were instituted as lawsuits. Although in theory, government regulation should protect consumers, United States politics is often held hostage to large corporate campaign contributions and thus regulatory agencies are disempowered or underfunded. This leaves the judiciary the only significant recourse for the individual who may have been harmed by a defective product. Many examples – such as the recent issue of contaminated milk in China – show that where consumers have no recourse, corporate interests in cost cutting can lead to dangerous product defects. The threat of lawsuits motivates corporations to a level of diligence for which they might otherwise have little incentive.
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