Wednesday, February 18, 2009

NY Times calls for new leadership at CPSC

This morning a New York Times editorial called for new leadership at CPSC to effectively implement the new safety law, Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and give families the assurance they need that the toys and children's products they buy are safe.


motherofsix said...

Can anyone provide an example of a child that has been hurt by lead in toys in the past 5 years? My Senators and Representative can't. I can't find anything on the internet. I'm starting to wonder if the whole lead scare isn't just a boogeyman -- frightening, but not a real threat. The one child who died last year from lead poisoning would not have been protected by the CPSIA legislation. He ate a charm from his mother's bracelet. It wasn't a product intended for children at all. I'm puzzled over how Congress would jeopardize tens of thousands of small businesses, thrift, and resale stores over an imaginary threat like lead in the tire valve of a child's bike, or in the carburetor of a small ATV, or in a zipper on a pair of jeans.

Kids In Danger said...

There have been children poisoned by lead in toys. The death you refer to was from a charm included in children’s shoes from Reebok – intended for children. Here is info on that death from the CPSC – your account of it being his mother’s charm bracelet is just one of the erroneous web stories I’ve heard:

The penalty settles allegations that Reebok International Ltd., of Canton, Mass., imported and distributed charm bracelets that contained toxic levels of lead. The charm bracelets were provided as free gifts with the purchase of various styles of children’s footwear. In March 2006, a 4-year-old boy from Minneapolis who swallowed the bracelet’s heart-shaped pendant died.

Also: -- cribs painted with lead paint that sickened a child -- children’s toy necklace that sickened a child -- keychain -- this is an adult product, but many parents allow younger children to handle their keys.

Here is information from the American Academy of Pediatrics on lead poisoning. The problem with lead is that it is cumulative, so even if a child isn’t getting an overload from toys, like the child who swallowed the charm, the small amount is added to other lead hazards that might also be in their environment – housing paint, soil, etc. It is true that most lead risk comes from old housing stock, but even so, I don’t think most parents want additional lead in their children’s toys.

I hear your frustration on the need for exclusions for products that don’t contain lead; as well as some products that can’t be made without lead and don’t pose the same risk as something that can be mouthed or handled enough that lead would go from the hands to the mouth, as well as the need to allow component testing. It is our hope that all these will be in place by the time the testing ban goes into effect in one year.

cookiewonton said...

First of all, I would like to say that I saw the fact that KID was founded by parents of a child who died in a tragic accident involving a bad product. I'm a mom of two and I can't imagine how I could possibly go on without either one of them. I'm also a mom who runs a small online shop that sometimes (when I'm lucky) brings in money to buy groceries for those two kids. I've been out of work for quite some time. Most months I can't afford my epilepsy medication. I certainly can't afford to test the products I make - things that are knitted and crocheted from cotton and wool yarn. I have checked the prices for testing. I've been calling/writing/emailing people for months now.

I read your letter to Nancy Nord explaining why small manufacturers and U.S. made products should not be exempt from the CPSIA. I also checked out the links to the examples of products you provided.

From the small manufacturers list :

Xtreme Toy Zone Dinosaurs - lead paint recall, made in China

Children's jewelry - lead paint recall, Daiso Seattle LLC of Lynnwood Washington importer, made in South Korea

Halloween figures - made in China

Made in U.S. :

the first is recalled for a laceration hazard

the second recalled for "buckles on the carrier shoulder straps can unexpectedly release tension, causing the strap to slip through, posing a fall hazard to the baby"

the third is a puncture hazard

Not that any of these U.S. manufactured toy recalls are good, but you'll notice that they are not lead recalls - and lead and phthalates are the things we're supposed to test for. I'm fairly familiar with the CPSC's recall lists - I've been reading over them for months. There's some bad crap on there - and the majority is imported.

My point is, we can all agree on the fact that lead is a bad bad thing. Why don't we test the imported products? There are already U.S. standards in place for craft items I use in my products. I even read the labels before I purchase them. They are regulated by the CPSC. Additional testing is not only costly but redundant.

I apologize for such a long comment, but this really is hurting a lot of people. And I don't just mean businesses. Our kids have less choice in what to play with and wear. Good thing I already make my kids' clothes.

Kids In Danger said...


I appreciate your comments. Your situation is why Kids In Danger supports excluding most textiles from the testing requirements since they are likely to be lead free AND allowing component testing so that if you do add snaps, buttons or other items to your yarn, you can use ones certified to be lead free and not need to test the final product. CPSC has been working on the list of exclusions and allowing component testing and we, like you, are waiting for them to release the final rules.

Your industry has been most focused on the lead and phthalate bans included in the CPSIA, but in fact much of the law deals with product standards and testing for many of the products you list in your email -- and will improve the safety of juvenile products such as cribs, portable cribs and bassinets -- an area where we have seen more than 5 million products recalled in less than 2 years.

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