This concerned me, so I e-mailed Boeri about it, referring to the Consumer Reports article. Here is their reply:
"I've seen that article. Here's our response to it:
"Response to Consumer Report Article
"In the December 2003 issue of Consumer Reports Magazine an article was published titled "Safety on the Slopes". In this article several ski helmets were tested an evaluated by the staff at Consumer Reports. One of the tested models was the Boeri Axis Rage. The Rage was judged "Not Acceptable" because the shells of several helmets tested shattered when chilled to between 0° F and 9° F and dropped on an anvil from 6.5 feet.
"We would like to refute this rating by illustrating the following points:
"All models in the Boeri line meet or exceed at least one (if not all) stringent standards established by accredited industry laboratories such as CE and ASTM. These are the benchmark standards that were referenced by the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) when they issued their 1999 report recommending the use of helmets when skiing or snowboarding. The article does state Consumer Report's decision to "go above and beyond" the tolerances referenced by these standards but fails to incorporate all the appropriate elements of them. The most glaring example is the absence of the penetration test referenced in the CE standard. This is the most widely accepted and adhered to wintersport helmet standard in the world. The penetration test evaluates protection from sharp pointed objects such as branches, ski poles and ski or board edges. In the last paragraph of the article (pg.55) Consumer Reports acknowledges the importance of such protection by stating a ski helmet differs from a bike helmet "and has a shell designed to protect against penetration by sharp edges like those on skis and snowboards". Why is it then that the two highest ranked models tested by Consumer Reports do not even meet this standard, let alone "go above and beyond" it?
"Consumer Reports is an independent, non-governed testing facility using their own bench testing methods to reach broad stroke conclusions and recommendations for a wide range of consumer products. This being the case, their results and conclusions are somewhat speculative based on their limited understanding of the intricacies of ski helmet design and function. Without that focus and insight it is unlikely that Consumer Reports would understand that partial self-destruction of the shell and EPS liner are intentionally designed mechanisms built into most helmets to facilitate effective impact management.
"The statement that "shards of the shell could cut the wearer's face during a tumble" needs to be put in context with the other likely injuries that would be sustained in a fall of this magnitude. To substantiate this point we have on file several testimonials from consumers who were spared severe head injuries while wearing the Axis Rage. We have no claims on file in four years that site any injury sustained from a broken Rage shell.
"The Axis Rage was first introduced to the U.S. market in 1999. Since that time, over 90522 units have been purchased by US consumers. In checking our warrantee return databases we have determined that in five years, 205 Axis Rages have been returned for cracked or broken shells. That equates to a .2% return rate. This number firmly illustrates that the Consumer Reports' conclusions are the result of bench testing speculation and have no anecdotal field evidence to support their conclusions.
"It is advisable for anyone who puts blind faith into what they read in this publication to consider the following: Recent media investigation of Consumer Reports' practices and methodologies raises numerous credibility issues. Below are a couple examples of this.
"Former Consumer Reports reporter Larry Katzenstein says:
"...20/20 managed to overlook the real story: the transmogrification of [Consumers Union] over the past 10 years from an organization that helped to educate the public about what was truly risky and what wasn't...to a group determined to scare people about risks that in reality pose negligible or nonexistent dangers.
"Source: Letter from Larry Katzenstein to Brian Ross, investigative reporter for ABC's 20/20, April 20, 1999
"Media watchdog Brill's Content says:
"When it comes to deciding which products and services to buy, there's no more trusted source of information than this 63-year-old magazine. But the self proclaimed bastion of unbiased testing may not be as fair or conflict-free as it claims.
"Source: Brill's Content, "Testing Consumer Reports," September 1999"
And the following contact info was provided:
Vice President of Sales
MPH Associates Inc / Boeri Sport USAjar@boeriusa.com
781.551.9933 ext 14