Posts Tagged ‘CPSIA and toys’

Capsized by CPSIA

Dallas entrepreneur Phebe Phillips tells in this speech (PDF) why she had to get out of her successful plush animal business:

Then in 2008 and 2009 the U.S. economy tanked … retail dwindled and a new toy regulation was enacted in response to the poor quality and mass quantity oversights by some really big toy companies. BadMrsGinger4bThis new law raises the testing price for each product and in some cases, doubles or triples the costs. For some small companies, it can cost one year of total revenue just to meet the requirements of this law. The law is for any product marketed to a child age twelve and under and for any product made anywhere…even here. It has frozen many small and midsize companies leaving the companies that caused the problems in the first place as some of the only companies that can afford to stay in business. Financially, it caused me to temporarily halt my business…I changed!

Via Amend the CPSIA, which had this report on Phillips in December; earlier on CPSIA and stuffed animals here and here.

Consumer Product Safety Commission member Anne Northup has also been blogging about some of the law’s ongoing damaging effects on sellers of dolls, kids’ furniture and apparel imports.

PUBLIC DOMAIN IMAGE from Honor C. Appleton, The Bad Mrs. Ginger (Frederick A. Stokes Co., 1902), courtesy

“If something isn’t done to protect small businesses, handmade toys will be gone soon.”

BadMrsGinger3bA Minnesota seller of imported and specialty playthings closes its doors, and its owner reflects on the ill-conceived Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. [Allison Kaplan/St. Paul Pioneer-Press, AmendTheCPSIA]

PUBLIC DOMAIN IMAGE from Honor C. Appleton, The Bad Mrs. Ginger (Frederick A. Stokes Co., 1902), courtesy

CPSIA unintended consequences dept.

“Barred from using lead in children’s jewelry because of its toxicity, some Chinese manufacturers have been substituting the more dangerous heavy metal cadmium in sparkling charm bracelets and shiny pendants being sold throughout the United States, an Associated Press investigation shows.” [AP/]

“There Is No Joy In Toyland”

Former Congresswoman Anne Northup, now a commissioner at the Consumer Product Safety Commission, AnimalsBall5chad an op-ed in the Journal last week on the continuing damage being wrought by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). Related: Rick Woldenberg (“Big Toy may be prospering right now, but the little guy is getting killed”). And Karen Raugust at Publisher’s Weekly has a year-end status report on the unpleasant effects of the law on various segments of the kids’ book business, including retailers, “book-plus” and novelty book makers, and one of the most seriously endangered groups, sellers of vintage children’s books.

PUBLIC DOMAIN IMAGE from Elise Bake, Der Ball Der Tiere (“The Animals’ Ball”, German, 1891), courtesy

CPSIA, big and small business, cont’d

Rick Woldenberg casts a skeptical eye on the Toy Safety Certification Program (TSCP), a voluntary toy-safety program promoted by both the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Toy Industries Association that in some respects goes beyond even the requirements of the CPSIA. His contention: “the TSCP significantly favors mass market companies in an almost shameless way.”

CPSIA’s ban on brass

By a 3-2 vote, the CPSC has confirmed that the absurd and inflexible Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act bans the sale of children’s products which contain components of conventional (leaded) brass. The vote drew dissents from commissioners Anne Northup (statement) and Nancy Nord (official comments, PDF; further statement at her blog). From the latter:

…The Commission has now very clearly determined that we do not have the flexibility under the law to make common sense decisions with respect to lead.
…I am especially concerned about what this decision means for our schools, where brass is found on desk hinges, coat hooks, locker pulls and many other items. Are schools now going to be forced to remove all brass and if so, who will bear this financial burden?

…brass is found throughout a home and removing it from toys does little in terms of removing it from a child’s environment. If brass were really harmful to children, we would be taking action to remove it from the home but no one is suggesting that there is a safety issue that needs to be addressed in this way.

Evidence of actual health risks from brass in the everyday environments of American children is, of course, anything but compelling. Rick Woldenberg has been covering the story here, here, here, and here. Greco Woodcrafting predicts rough times ahead for school bands, as well. And the WSJ editorializes today.
More: this summer the CPSC issued guidance on the closely related topic of ballpoint pens (the roller balls of which include lead alloy); the upshot was so long as manufacturers don’t primarily market any given pen design as being for kids, they’re in the clear, even if large numbers of children are among the pens’ users. (Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association petition and response, both PDF; earlier here, here, etc.) For more on that episode, see 3 Green Angels, NAM “Shop Floor” and more, Rick Woldenberg and more, and Whimsical Walney.

PUBLIC DOMAIN IMAGES from Elise Bake, Der Ball Der Tiere (“The Animals’ Ball”, German, 1891), courtesy