It's been a while since the CPSIA has been in the news, or at least since anyone's sent me anything about it. The CPSC's new lead and phthalates restrictions and testing requirements for childrens' products kicked in earlier this year, and though some details are still to be decided, the contours of the new American toyscape are becoming clearer: giant toy companies manufacturing overseas and testing and certifying in their own labs are going to do fine. international toymakers and independent and handcrafted types are screwed, as are the secondhand and thrift shop industries.
The New York Times has a front page story today about the plight of the Handmade Toy Alliance, the trade group founded to protest the CPSIA's requirement for third-party lead testing and certification for basically every childrens product, including things that would never have lead to begin with, like beeswax-finished, carved wood toys.
The Times piece is nothing new, and I can't quite figure out what prompted it to appear right now, but it at least serves as a reminder that the CPSIA is still a badly crafted regulatory threat to thousands of conscientious small businesses.
Meanwhile, DT reader Caitlin reports that the owner of their local mom&pop toy store told them BRIO, the venerable Swedish wooden toy maker, is pulling out of the US altogether rather than incur the expense of third-party CPSIA testing. Brio is best known for their high-end wooden trains, which have been pummeled by the multi-channel, cross-promotional branded juggernaut of Thomas the Tank Engine. Which of course, were the toy that kcked off the big Summer of Lead Toys Scare in 2007.
Brio's been struggling with its business anyway The company was faced with bankruptcy earlier this year, and has restructured itself into three separate divisions, all focused primarily on the Northern European markets. So maybe they're getting run over by the CPSIA because they had a heart attack on the tracks.
Burden of New Safety Law Imperil Small Toymakers [nytimes via dt readers eric, john, and jc]