To pick up slack from the undersized/overwhelmed CPSC, states are stepping up to help increase toy safety locally. New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Illinois and California have been taking “aggressive measures,” from suing manufacturers to escalating state recalls to the federal level. Newsday describes how New Jersey worked with charities and educators during toy drives to make them aware of recalled toys. The state also assigned 15 state inspectors to a toy safety task force, and over the past month, the inspectors “fanned out across the state with assistance from county health department workers to test products and check for recalled toys.
The inspections point out one real problem retailers face in isolating and removing recalled products from their inventory—the manufacturers don’t always make it easy:
Even after spotting the toy boat and suspecting it matched the one on the recall list, veteran state investigator Frank Carmody had to remove the product from its packaging and search the toy for several minutes before finding the model number on the boat’s underside, printed in the same bright orange as the boat and nearly impossible to read. He then had to call the CPSC to verify that the toy he was holding and the one in his binder were the same.
To test for high lead levels, inspectors in New Jersey use a handheld reader to identify items to send to their labs for further testing:
Working with the state, the Monmouth County inspectors field-tested 75 children’s items including a butterfly keychain, a backpack and a toddler’s touch toy. They sent 16 of the 75 on to an independent lab for further testing; all 16 passed the more extensive test.
Merry Christmas to state inspectors!