New toy law could affect more than just children and their toysLead safety law goes beyond just a toy story Consumer confidence is already low and the holiday toy buying season is behind us now but toy manufacturers and cottage industry toy retailers are more frightened now than ever before.
Some say it is paranoia while others call it a good move to protect the children in the U.S. from dangerous toys.
With strict laws and guidelines already in place for Washington State, a new and stricter law based around our state’s guidelines for toy manufacturers will go into effect Feb. 10 throughout the country.
The stricter toy law was intended to focus only on toys, but the wording, according to Rowdy Rascals Toy Store owner Debbie Baillie, says that it encompasses more than just toys.
“All I know is that most people think this new law CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) is specifically for the toy industry- wrong,” she says. “It impacts any products geared at children ages 12 and under.”
According to Baillie this would mean clothing, books, school supplies, sports equipment, toys, and so on, so to many toy store owners Feb. 10, 2009 is quickly becoming known as “National Bankruptcy Day.”
“In these terrible economic times, many businesses are going to go bankrupt and many more people will lose their jobs,” Baillie said.
As an example, German toy maker Selecta has already pulled out of the U.S. market as of Dec. 31, 2008 Baillie said, and the Washington Post concurred several weeks ago that the company had plans weeks before to pull out of the U.S. market.
The Washington Post wrote that the German toymaker sited that the stiffer law would cut into its bottom line.
European toy makers had already adhered to strict safety laws enacted to protect children long before toxic levels of lead were found in toys manufactured in China by the U.S. Selecta is just one of many lines of toys Rowdy Rascals carries because of its safeness, Baillie explained.
The company that makes these toys use woodchips from native woods and uses a vegetable based dye to color the wooden toys then seals the dye with beeswax so not to use any toxic varnishes.
Learning Resources might be a more familiar name to many parents than Selecta, and its Chairman Rick Woldenberg said that this will ruin the toy business, and it has nothing to do with safety, it has to do with mania.
The Illinois based manufacturer of educational toys said that an independent lab wanted $24,000 to test one of its models of children’s telescopes.
The amount of money it will cost to have independent labs test every product and every sku (inventory) whether they have lead in them or not is what will really end up costing toymakers money and changing their bottom line, according to Baillie.
She and many other toy store owners take pride in selecting safe toys for children and fear that people don’t understand the severity of this law and what it will do to the toy and children’s industry and what will be left on the shelves for parents to buy their children.
Baillie says it’s not about the money, it’s about giving children and parents a safe choice in toys and children’s products.
“We are all committed to safe toys for children, and that is one of the reasons we opened our specialty toy stores and have European inventory on our shelves,” Baillie said. “If Congress doesn’t pay more attention to the consequences of this pending law, U.S. children will be left with the scrappy junk that caused this problem in the first place and the quality stuff will be available to all the children outside of the U.S.”