February 10, 2009

Hello, It's February 10th. Is The Phthalate Baby Product Industry Still With Us?


Any shuttered stores? Stopped assembly lines? Quarantined shipping containers? Empty shelves in the teething ring aisle? Tumbleweeds on etsy.com? Wire service photos of despairing phthalate futures traders clapping their foreheads?

Though they're not being enforced officially, today is the day the CPSIA's new testing and certification standards for children's products goes into effect. It's now illegal to sell kids' products with phthalates, or to make or sell kids products that haven't been tested and certified to be lead-free.

So how's it going? Is anything happening? Somehow I don't think so, but share your reports in the comments.


I asked about this in a local store over the weekend. I noticed them pulling a lot stock from the shelves. Turns out there were just transferring the items to another store. I then learned that they have been given extra time. I think a year. So that means don't count on every item on the shelf being safe just yet.

A few things are happening, that you might never have expected (I never did):


Motorcycles for 'under 12s' cannot be sold, or, according to some dealers, even serviced or returned to customers? They also believe that parts can't be sold for existing units, and are waiting for clarification.

I haven't visited my local toystore, who has been scared silly about this for months - I half expect to find her entire inventory out on the street.

My local Once Upon a Child is refusing to take all toys. Between phthalates in the plastic and lead paint on wooden toys, they're just tossing in the towel and strictly handling clothes and selected gear.

Yes, as a matter of fact - I think. I grabbed some stuff from the dollar spot at Target yesterday for the kid to give the younger kid for Valentine's Day. When I checked out, the register started beeping and the computer screen was flashing. The cashier explained that something I had was recalled (turned out to be a smallish plastic tractor) and she couldn't sell it to me. She had to call a manager over who had to enter some code to make the register calm down before she confiscated said tractor. How are the (supposedly lead-free) farm animals supposed to get around?

A local slightly upscale hospice thrift store has completely done away with their baby/kids section - no more clothing, no more toys. Bummer cos they had really great stuff. Also, an item in the local paper said two other local all-kid resale shops are massively confused about their responsibilities under the law.

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