Why there are so many Toy Recalls:
The CPSC has responsibility for over 15,000 different products, however it is underfunded, understaffed and dependent on voluntary testing by industry.
However the toy industry is highly competitive where consumers expect low prices. This forces manufacturers to look for low-cost materials.
It used to be most toys sold in the United States were produced within the US. Now 87% are produced in other countries. Where 74% of those are manufactured in China.
A study led by Scott Clark, a professor of environmental health at the University of Cincinnati, found that 50% of the paint sold in China, India, and Malaysia had lead concentrations of 30 times higher than the CPSC standard.
Since the manufacturing role has been shifting overseas, U.S. Toy importers have come to rely more and more on test results from foreign suppliers.
Some overseas vendors will circumvent long-established standards and procedures on purpose or out of carelessness.
Federal Hazardous Substances Act implied that manufacturers can sell potentially toxic products as long as the exposure pathway is unlikely to be completed.
According to the Ecology Center's investigations, some charms, bracelets, earrings, key chains, rings and other inexpensive jewelry marketed to children are made entirely of lead.
The CPSC acknowledges that children's jewelery is a problem. CPSC spokesperson Julie Vallese says she knows kids will put things in their mouth and they are trying to get manufacturers to use nonhazardous metals.
What's being done:
President Bush through CPSC's authority proposed to:
make it illegal for companies to knowingly sell a recalled product.
Establish a certification program for companies with a track record for meeting safety standards
increased penalties for violating U.S. Import laws.
More training for overseas inspectors
Approved by Senate Committee: The CPSC Reform Act of 2007:
more than double agency's budget from 62.4 million to 141.7 million by 2015
increase staffing levels 20%
increase the maximum fine on companies from $1.8 million to $100 million
more testing of children's products
bans led in children's products
makes it illegal to knowingly sell a recalled product.
have been issuing voluntary recalls when they learn about unsafe products.
Said they will conduct more stringent testing of their products and impose rigorous standards on imported goods
Some retailers, such as Toys “R” Us, have called for further testing of the products they stock
Currently the CPSC has begun to address led paint hazards from imported toys. They entered into agreements with the Chinese government to address safety in production. Parents should avoid purchasing cheap jewelry at all costs. Parents shouldn't excessively worry on the risk of dangerous toys. However, the vast amount of recent toy recalls should serve as a wakeup call to the industries and federal regulation to make beneficial changes