Lead isn’t what you need to watch out for with American toys—it’s design flaws and the policies of irresponsible toy companies, says E. Marla Felcher on Slate. One study “recently found that of all the toys recalled since 1988, 76 percent involved design flaws. Kids choked, were strangled, and were burned by toy makers’ design mistakes.”
The reason so many toys were recalled this summer is not that there weren’t enough regulations. It’s that toy makers were ignoring the regulations that are already on the books. And the new testing proposal won’t stop them from continuing to do so.
Not surprisingly, the toy industry’s recent calls for third-party testing are focused entirely on lead, which is a good sign that they’re more about pre-Christmas damage control than safety. A lobbyist for the Toy Industry Association told Slate that third-party testers would start with lead and the move on to things like “small parts,” but did not mention design flaws.
There’s also speculation that the larger toy companies are using this as an opportunity to drive up production costs just enough to get rid of small, “made in America” toy companies.
Felcher supports with the idea that the CPSC should be given more power to levy much larger fines against offending companies, but cautions that unless a “consumer-friendly” chairman is appointed, things could continue as they are. (Only at least we won’t have to worry about lead, right?)
Played Out: What it would really take to make toys safer” [Slate]