Friday, December 5, 2008

Toxic Toys

Here is a report from The PopTort on toxic toys and the recent ruling of the Conusmer Product Safety Commission to allow the sale of products containing lead past the date set by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act: "A wave of toxic-toy recalls last year gave rise to federal legislation which was signed into law this past summer (“The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008”). Among other things, the law “permanently bans the sale, after February 10, 2009, of toys and child care products that contain certain phthalates and lead.” Nevertheless, according to the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, “In a letter dated November 13, 2008, the law firm Arent Fox, on behalf of unidentified [“wholesale and resale”] clients, asked the CPSC to only apply the U.S. ban to the production - and not sale - of toys with phthalates. In a legal opinion published only two business days later, on November 17, 2008, the CPSC General Counsel agreed. As a result, manufacturers can stockpile toys and child care products with the banned phthalates right up to the date of the ban, and then sell them to consumers long after the ban was supposed to go into effect.” Thankfully, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Public Citizen are challenging the CPSC’s reckless decision in federal court, alleging the CPSC “is failing to carry out its role in implementing the phthalates ban” which will result in “harm to consumers exposed to the chemicals.” "Selling millions of toxic toys to kids is not the way to dispose of them, as the law clearly states," said David Arkush, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division which, along with NRDC, was heavily involved in lobbying Congress for stronger product safety rules. "It’s not only immoral - it’s illegal. It is horrifying that the federal agency charged with protecting consumers is telling the industry it can dump chemical waste on toy-store shelves."

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