Mattel gets a pass on the regulation their negligence created

If you haven’t heard about the unintended (?) effects created by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) you should definitely get up to speed on it. The CPSIA was enacted in the wake of those Chinese-manufactured toys that turned out to have lead content far in excess of that permitted by law. The requirement for testing any – and I do mean any – product to be sold to or for the primary use by children for lead and pthalates whether that product is newly manufactured or being offered for resale has had a devastating effect on small businesses and thrift stores throughout the country. I’d direct you to resources at Hugh Hewitt’s blog, a write-up at Convenant Zone (a Canadian blog but still affected by this law), and Learning Resources, Inc.’s CPSIA – COmments and Observations site to get a feel for it and then go from there.

Today’s post is to draw attention to something raised by Ed Morrissey over at Hot Air. He took note of a news report that says that the US firm who was squarely at the center of the whole problem to begin with – Mattel – has gotten a waiver from having to comply with the independent testing requirement mandated by the CPSIA. Morrissey sums it up:

Mattel had to recall more than 2 million toys from the market after inspectors discovered lead in the imported products.  Now they claim that their “firewalled” labs will protect consumers and block out “corporate influence”.  Where are the labs that Mattel will use?  Mexico, Malaysia, Indonesia, and China — and China is where the dangerous toys originated.

Mattel gets to test its own products.  People like Suzi Lang have to pay laboratories to certify their hand-made products contain no lead or phthalates, which she already knows because she handpicks her materials.

So the firm that dropped the oversight ball in the first place is going to rely on labs located in the countries that were responsible for the manufacturing problems from the start to test for the presence of materials that they were already supposed to be testing for to begin with. And the regulatory agency that’s sending agents into the field to harass thrift shop owners in the United States is perfectly fine with Mattel getting away with this?

The law was badly written and that was bad enough. That the agency responsible for enforcing the regulation is now doing this is preposterous. Someones’ heads should roll for this.

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