September 6, 2007

You Sitting Down? Toymakers Request Federal Safety & Testing Standards

I'm not sure I even now how to type these words in this order, so I'll have to cut-n-paste from the NY Times story just out:

Acknowledging a growing crisis of public confidence caused by a series of recent recalls, the nation’s largest toy makers have taken the unusual step of asking the federal government to impose mandatory safety-testing standards for all toys sold in the United States.
The Toy Industry Association is suggesting that the federal government--in the form of Congressional legislation and CPSC regulations--develop standards for safety-testing toys. The testing wouldn't be conducted by the CPSC--which only has one guy anyway, so it's a moot point--but the government would establish safety criteria and testing requirements, and then oversee testing by independent, third-party labs.

The TIA's proposal closely echoes a bill announced by Senator Dick Durbin [D-IL] which would call for the pre-market safety testing of all toys for kids 5 and under.

“If the consumer is aware that the government has some responsibility and is holding companies responsible, it will set their minds at ease as to the products they are buying off the shelves,” said Jeff Holtzman, chief executive of the Goldberger Company, a toy maker.
Sweet rhetorical move there on the government, not corporate, responsibility, hmm? The only holdout? So far, the CPSC has not announced whether it's in favor of doing anything to help protect consumers.

Toy Makers Seek Standards for U.S. Safety [nyt]


Watch how quickly the industry's lobbyists twist the legislation into a protectionist bill that makes it all but impossible to import toys from small, European manufacturers. I don't think it will take long...this could really end up hurting independent retailers and consumers.

[d'oh -ed.]

When I read this headline, I had to check to make sure it wasn't from The Onion. Now, if the legacy airlines and cell phone companies demand legislation requiring decent customer service, I'm heading for the fallout shelter. The end of the world would surely be upon us.

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