Toy Safety News from Around the World
Need to know what's been going on? Below are summaries of news from various media sources on subjects related to toy safety, recalls and legislation. To see TDmonthly Magazine's most updated news on all topics relevant to the toy industry, click here. For a list of recalls issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, click here.
SGS Earns TSCP Accreditation. November 3, 2009 — SGS Consumer Testing Services has become an approved certification body under the Toy Industry Association's Toy Safety Certification Program, meaning that as a third-party testing lab it can certify that toy manufacturers meet existing federal requirements for product safety while helping those companies save money by streamlining tests required. SGS has 22 labs worldwide that have been accredited by the CPSC as third-party CPSIA testing bodies, according to a press release.
Handmade Toy Alliance Seeks Action on CPSIA. November 2, 2009 — The Handmade Toy Alliance met Friday with two CPSC commissioners and other staff, Sen. Merkley and an aide to Sen. Dodd via video conference, expressing the organization's requests for the CPSC to take action on behalf of small businesses that are now defunct or are threatened of closing due to the CPSIA. An Oct. 25 petition from the HTA to the five CPSC commissioners outlined nine requested action steps: a technical amendment to the CPSIA for purposes of analyzing risk in relation to third-party and lead-testing mandates; a one-year stay of testing and certification requirements, effective Feb. 10, 2010; retesting for every 10,000 units instead of every 15 months; a guarantee from CPSC to not prosecute small businesses for not completing ASTM testing unless item quantity is over 10,000 or unit quantity is over 4,000 per year; no prosecution for failure to safety test custom items; a simplified publication of ASTM, testing and other requirements for children's product makers; appointment of an ombudsperson to work with HTA and communicate with small businesses and the CPSC; simplified pricing quotes from third-party testing companies; and renewed lead poisoning education for consumers.
Summer Infant Sued for Baby Monitor's Video Broadcast. October 31, 2009 — An Illinois man has filed suit against Summer Infant Inc. and Toys "R" Us after a neighbor informed him he could see the family's baby's room on his own "Summer Day and Night Video" monitor next door, when set to a certain channel. The lawsuit aims to stop Toys "R" Us and the manufacturer from selling the monitors without fair warnings, as they may subject families to "prying eyes and perhaps ill intentions of neighbors and strangers," the Chicago Tribune reported.
Target and DGI Recall Halloween Flashlights. October 28, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with manufacturere DGI LLC and importer Target, has announced a voluntary recall of about 610,000 Halloween Flashlights following eight reports of the items overheating and melting. The mini keychain flashlights and the standard-sized flashlights with stencils were sold at Target in August and September 2009 and can be returned to the store for a full refund.
CPSC Issues Warning for "My Baby Soother" Pacifiers. October 26, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a warning asking parents not to use "My Baby Soother" pacifiers after the distributor, T & L Trading, refused to recall the items. The nipples can detach from the base of the pacifiers and pose a choking hazard to infants and toddlers. About 16,500 of the pacifiers retailed at delis and grocery and discount stores in New York state from August 2007 through July 2009.
Target Pulls Halloween Flashlights for Overheating. October 21, 2009 — According to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times, Target has removed from its shelves two varieties of plastic toy Halloween flashlights that have stencils to project pictures of witches and bats after receiving reports of the products overheating. In one case, a woman discovered smoke in her 3-year-old daughter's room as the bottom portion of the flashlight was melting and burning through a pillow on the bed. Visit www.cpsc.gov for official recall notices.
Mattel Settles Lead Recall Lawsuit. October 14, 2009 — Mattel Inc. has settled a lawsuit Tuesday issued by consumers affected by the company's recall of 21 million Chinese-made toys in 2007 due to excessive lead levels and small parts. Bloomberg reported that the settlement, which allows for "tens of millions of dollars in monetary relief," will give consumers who acted on the recall either $10 or 50 percent of their submitted voucher amounts, whichever equals more.
Daiso Recalls Toys for Excessive Lead and Phthalates. October 6, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Daiso California LLC, has announced a voluntary recall of about 130 Children's Toys, Purses and Pen Cases. Surface paint on the purse and pen case zippers and on the balancing toys has been found to have excessive levels of lead, and an inflatable baseball bat has high levels of DEHP, in violation of the phthalates standard. The products were sold at Daiso stores in California from March 2008 through May 2009.
Daiso Recalls Wooden Toys for Choking Hazard. October 6, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Daiso California LLC, has announced a voluntary recall of about 430 wooden toys because small pieces can come off and pose a choking hazard. The recall covers Penguin Handbell, Pull Doll, Alligator Pull Toy and Dog, Cat, Rabbit and Mice Rolling Animals, which were sold at Daiso in California from December 2008 through May 2009.
SKU Recalls See Drop in Third Quarter. October 5, 2009 — The TIA reported that recalls of toys during the third quarter of this year declined by about one-third, seeing 7 SKUs recalled as compared to 13 recalled for the same period in 2008. Roughly 3 billion toys are sold in the United States annually; thus far, 6,879,710 items (or 0.14 percent) have been recalled in 2009.
TIA Launches Toy Safety Certification Program. October 1, 2009 — The Toy Industry Association officially launched the Toy Safety Certification Program on Thursday, putting forth a system by which toy manufacturers can apply to ensure their products meet CPSIA standards and are reviewed by certification parties accredited by the American National Standards Institute. According to a press release, the program is designed to streamline testing and will make certification reports available to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission as well as U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It may also cut down on redundancy in testing requirements, as many mass retailers have agreed to accept TSCP certification. The TSCP Electronic Certification System, aimed at helping toymakers and importers meet Certificates of Conformity requirements under the CPSIA, was released back in February.
CPSC Fines Target $600,000 for Lead Violation. October 1, 2009 — Target is paying a $600,000 civil penalty issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to settle allegations that the retailer knowingly imported and sold toys with high lead content. Target denies that it had knowledge of breaking the federal law with the Chinese-manufactured toys — 500,000 of which were recalled between November 2006 and September 2007, the Associated Press reported.
Big Lots Recalls Bunk Beds. September 23, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Big Lots Stores, Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 20,000 Wooden Bunk Beds because the support slats and railings can break. There have been four reports of minor injuries. The bunk beds were sold at Big Lots stores from May 2008 through February 2009. Customers are urged to return the defective pieces and receive a repair kit for free.
Safety and Legislative Updates Scheduled During TIA's Fall Toy Preview. September 16, 2009 — According to this press release from TIA, a complimentary TIA Safety and Legislative Update will be held during Fall Toy Preview at the Dallas Market Center. Members of the TIA Government Affairs team will share the latest news on pending state and federal legislation impacting the toy industry as well as efforts which are underway to advance the harmonization of toy safety standards around the world. A key focus of the presentation will be how the TSCP helps companies meet CPSC and CPSIA requirements.
Thousands of Chinese Toy Companies Close As Recession Lowers Demand. September 16, 2009 — Over 4,000 Chinese toy companies closed last year as the global recession cut demand and some countries tightened safety standards. According to the official Xinhua News Agency, Toy exports rose 1.8 percent in 2008, 18.5 percentage points less than the gain in 2007. The combination of the country's exporting collapse and economic slowdown have cost the jobs of 20 million migrant workers, Bloomberg reports.
CPSC Fines Companies $610,000 for Drawstring Violations. September 8, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced civil penalties in the following amounts for these companies, for failure to report their sale of hooded sweatshirts or jackets with drawstrings at the neck: Kohl's Department Stores, $425,000; Hill Sportswear, $100,000; and Maran Inc. and K.S. Trading Corp., $85,000.
Team Work Trading Recalls Kids' Masks and Pendants. September 8, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Team Work Trading, has announced a voluntary recall of about 1,400 Children's Animal Masks and Pendants because the products contain high levels of lead. The cat mask and four pendant designs retailed at gift and modeling stores, as well as at the Team Work Trading store, from November 2008 through March 2009 for $4 to $8.
Parents Don't Want PVC Going Back to School. September 2, 2009 — The Center for Health, Environment & Justice has partnered with MomsRising in a campaign urging retailers to remove PVC-containing school supplies from store shelves — an effort that has attracted petitions from more than 10,000 parents, according to a press release. The announcement points out that while phthalates, the majority of which occur in PVC along with other toxic chemicals, are now regulated for children's toys, many are still present in lunch boxes, notebooks and other supplies children use daily at school. CHEJ's Back-to-School Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies gives guidelines for avoiding PVC — in products that display the three-arrow recycling symbol with the No. 3, for example — along with tips for selecting everything from art supplies to food wrap, and an extensive list of PVC-free suppliers.
Liquidation Outlet Recalls Action Figures for Lead Paint. August 27, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Liquidation Outlet Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 8,400 Force Soldier Playsets, Pirate Expeditions With Parrot, and Pirate Expeditions With Treasure sets due to surface paints containing excessive levels of lead. The toys were sold at Dollar Stores in Washington and Oregon from September 2007 through July 2009.
Mattel Exempt from Third-Party Toy Safety Testing. August 27, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has given Mattel permission to use its own labs for toy testing to meet requirements under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. While other manufacturers must pay independent third-party labs to test children's products for lead and phthalates, seven of Mattel's labs — in China, Mexico, Indonesia, Malaysia and California — have been stamped as "firewalled third-party laboratories" that the CPSC has deemed safe from corporate interference. Similar exceptions for other companies are currently under consideration by the Commission, the Associated Press reported.
New Toy Tests Needed for Kids With Big Bite. August 21, 2009 — A study led by Dr. Gary Mountain at the University of Leeds in the UK found that 3-year-olds can have the bite strength of a canine, prompting the researcher to recommend introduction of a bite-testing standard for the toy industry. Mountain believes age warning labels on products aren't enough, since parents sometimes don't read them or relate them to small parts hazards; he also pulled from research on the number of children sent to emergency rooms after inhaling or swallowing small parts, ScienceDaily reported. In the study, a new dental instrument was used to measure the bite force of more than 200 3- to 5-year-olds. An interpretive rule on inaccessible component parts published by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in July clarified that in use and abuse testing of toys and other children's products, "the Commission does not use the bite test specified in the three CFR sections [16 CFR 1500.51, 1500.52 and 1500.53] as a result of a court case ... that questioned the appropriateness of this test," but noted the regulation could be changed in the future.
CPSC Reissues Bassinet Warning After 2 Deaths. August 20, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has re-announced an August 2008 recall of Simplicity Inc. 3-in-1 and 4-in-1 convertible bassinets after being notified of two additional infant deaths: a 2-month-old girl who suffocated in September 2008 against the bassinet's fabric siding near the Velcro fasteners, and a 6-month-old girl who, in January, apparently became stuck in the bar opening when the fasteners were not secured. There have also been reports of two other infants, 10 weeks old and 3 months old, whose heads became stuck under the bar but were freed by caregivers without harm. The bassinets were sold at Target, Wal-Mart, Amazon.com, USA Baby and other mass-market and juvenile product stores.
Weight Watchers Plush Recalled for Embedded Needles. August 20, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada, in cooperation with distributor Weight Watchers International and manufacturer Shanghai Oriland Toys Co. Ltd., have announced a voluntary recall of about 420,000 Hungry Figures and Hungry Magnets in the United States and 25,000 in Canada after reports of employees finding a sewing needle in two Hungry Figures. There have been no reports of injury. The toys were available through Weight Watchers between April 2009 and July 2009, and may for full refund or credit.
eebee's Books Recalled for Strangulation Hazard. August 20, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Sterling Publishing Co., has announced a voluntary recall of about 15,000 eebee's "Have a Ball" Adventures Cloth Books because a string that attaches the ball to the book can get tangled in the basketball hoop and present a strangulation hazard. The books were sold from June 2008 through June 2009 for about $15. No injuries have been reported.
Child Trailers Recalled for Wheel Separation. August 19, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Burley Design LLC, has announced a voluntary recall of about 2,700 2009 d'lite ST and Solo ST Child Trailers because the axle assembly's inside sleeve can come loose and cause a wheel to separate. No injuries have been reported. The trailers were sold at bicycle shops, outdoor retailers and online from November 2008 through June 2009 for $550 to $600.
TGH International Trading Fined $31,500 for Small-Parts Violation. August 17, 2009 — TGH International Trading of Los Angeles will pay $31,500 in civil penalty fees to settle allegations that the company knowingly imported and sold toys with small parts that posed choking risks to young children, in violation of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act. The claim involves more than 11,000 toys imported into the United States in 2005 and 2006. TGH denies that it violated the law, the CPSC reported.
Little Tikes Recalls Children's Workshops After Boy Hospitalized. August 13, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Little Tikes, has announced a voluntary recall of about 1.6 million Little Tikes™ Workshop Sets and Trucks after an 11-month-old boy choked on a toy nail and was hospitalized; the child made a full recovery. The plastic nails, in red and blue, measure 3.25" long by 1.25" in diameter. Product sets recalled include the following: Electronic Project Workshop, sold from March 1994 through December 2003; Little HandiWorker Workhorse, sold from March 1999 through June 2009; Home Improvements 2-Sided Workshop, sold from February 2001 through January 2009; Swirlin' Sawdust Workshop, sold from April 2004 through November 2008; and Black Pickup Truck With Tools, sold from March 2000 through April 2009. The sets retailed at Toys "R" Us and other mass-market stores, as well as at littletikes.com.
CPSC Lists Top-10 Children's Product Recalls in Resale Round-up. August 6, 2009 — In an effort to help prevent resale shops and websites from selling recalled toys and other kids' items, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has provided the following list of the top-10 recalled children's items, seven of which have been associated with the deaths of infants or children: Playskool Travel-Lite Play Yards; Evenflo Happy Camper Play Yards; Baby Trend Home and Roam and Baby Express Portable Cribs and Play Yards; Magnetix Magnetic Building Sets; Easy Bake Ovens; Polly Pocket Dolls With Magnets; Simplicty Drop Side Cribs; Simplicity Bassinets (also with Graco or Winnie the Pooh motif); Hill Sportswear hooded drawstring sweatshirts; and Evenflo Envision High Chairs.
Updated Handbook Gives Guidelines for Resale Stores. August 6, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has posted to its website an updated CPSC Handbook for Resale Stores and Product Resellers providing an overview of products that should not be sold — including recalled items, children's products that contain excessive levels of lead, children's products that contain pthalates prohibited by law, and other items that violate CPSC standards and pose a safety hazard — as well as guidelines on small parts, magnetic toys, cribs and playpens, toy chests and more.
Target Recalls Circo Booster Seats. August 6, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Target, has announced a voluntary recall of about 43,000 Circo Booster Seats because a buckle can open unexpectedly and cause a child to fall. There have been three reports of bruise injuries. The seats were sold at Target stores from December 2008 through June 2009 for about $13.
Graco Recalls Jumpers for Choking Hazard. August 6, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Graco Children's Products Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 2,400 Jump 'n Jive™ Doorway Jumpers because fabric strips on the detachable toys can come off and pose a choking hazard. There have been no reports of injury. The jumpers retailed at Babies "R" Us, Amazon.com and specialty stores across the country from April though July 2009 for about $55.
Playland Recalls Swing Sets. February 4, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Playland International, has announced a voluntary recall of about 700 Arch Swing Sets because metal at the top of the frame can fail, allowing to top bar to fall and possibly injure children or adults. The sets were available through Playland International dealers from September 2001 through May 2006.
Jerry Leigh Recalls Kids' Sweatshirts. February 4, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Jerry Leigh of California Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 1,200 Harajuku Lovers Hooded Jackets with hood drawstrings that could pose a strangulation hazard. The jackets retailed at various locations, including Nordstrom's and Macy's from August 2008 through January 2009.
Industry Groups Request Emergency Stay of Lead Ban. February 3, 2009 — The Consumer Product Safety Commission coalition of the National Association of Manufacturers, representing 67 organizations, has issued a request for an emergency stay of the effective date of Section 101(a)(2) of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, asking for an extension of 185 days past Feb. 10, or 90 days after the CPSC's final ruling on implementation. Ballot votes are due Feb. 9; if approved, the stay would give manufacturers and retailers more time to ensure that their products comply with the 600 parts per million lead limit. Reasons for the request include pending rulemaking that may exclude certain products and materials from the requirement, lack of clarification on testing procedures, and economic chaos related to the return or destruction of existing inventory that may not be in compliance.
CPSC Stays Lead-Testing Rule Until 2010. January 30, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission voted today to extend the deadline for select mandatory testing and certification requirements under the CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act), giving manufacturers an extra year to comply. According to a press release, manufacturers and importers of products for children 12 and under must still meet the required limits for lead (600 ppm) and phthalates (1,000 ppm) by Feb. 10, but do not yet have to test for or provide certification for those regulations. A vote to lift the stay will be taken on Feb. 10, 2010. See "What Does the CPSIA Stay Really Mean?" for further explanation.
Exploding Caps in JAKKS Aromatherapy Kits Cause Injuries. January 29, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with JAKKS Pacific, has announced a voluntary recall of about 516,000 Spa Factory™ Aromatherapy Fountain and Bath Benefits Kits after receiving 13 reports of injuries to children and adults, including cuts, bruises and eye irritation due to caps exploding off the jars included in the sets. The containers holding the Bath Bomb/Balls and Bath Fizzies can become pressurized owing to a buildup of carbon dioxide. The kits were sold at mass-market and toy stores from August 2008 through January 2009. Consumers should contact JAKKS at 877-875-2557 for free replacement caps that have holes for ventilation.
DDI Recalls Play Sets. January 29, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with DDI Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 3,000 Construction Play Sets due to lead in the surface paints. The product retailed at hardware, home and farm stores from October through December 2008.
Spencer Gifts Recalls Skull Necklace. January 29, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Spencer Gifts LLC, has announced a voluntary recall of about 8,400 Skull-and-Crossbones Necklaces that contain high levels of lead. The necklaces retailed at Spencer Gift and Spirit Halloween stores from November 2006 to December 2008.
The Land of Nod Recalls Kids' Canopies. January 28, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with The Land of Nod, has announced a voluntary recall of about 2,400 Home Sweet Playhome Canopies after two reports of a child's head getting trapped in the canopy's window openings. The company has not received report of any injury, though entrapment could pose strangulation hazards. The product retailed from The Land of Nod catalog, stores and online from September 2003 through October 2005.
High School Musical Manicure Kits Recalled. January 27, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Fantas-Eyes Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 15,000 High School Musical Manicure Kits because the glittered lettering on the included pouch contains excess lead levels. The product retailed online and via LTD Commodities and ABC distributing catalogs from September to November 2008.
Markwins Recalls Lip Gloss Keychains Due to Lead. January 27, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Markwins Beauty Products, has announced a voluntary recall of about 75,000 Lip Gloss Keychains because there are high levels of lead in the metal clasp connected to the keychain. The product sold at Wal-Mart, Kmart, Rite Aid and Fred Meyer during October 2008.
India's Ban on Chinese Toys Prompts New Regulations. January 26, 2009 — Following the announcement of India's six-month ban against Chinese toys, the government is working to develop standards against toxic toys — including those that contain lead and other chemicals — made locally and imported into the country. The Economic Times reported that 60 percent of the toys in India come from China. According to the president of the Toy Manufacturers Association of India, it's the unorganized sector of the industry, including companies that are not currently exporting to markets with high safety standards in place, that will require the most work.
India Blocks Chinese-Made Toys. January 23, 2009 — An official of India's Commerce Ministry said Friday that the country is banning the import of toys from China for six months, effective immediately. No reason for the ban was given, CNN reported.
Group Warns of U.S. Toy Dumping in Philippines. January 20, 2009 — EcoWaste Coalition announced Monday that the Philippine government should be vigilant to prevent unsafe toys from entering the country as the the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act goes into effect in the United States Feb. 10. Business Mirror reported that the watchdog group is urging the creation of a law to ensure consumer safety and has warned importers, toy retailers and secondhand stores that bargain buys in particular may be dangerous.
Guangdong Province Lost Nearly 1,000 Toy Exporters in '08. January 17, 2009 — A single province in South China shed 992 toy export companies last year, affected greatly by the financial crisis, injury from recalls in 2007, and skyrocketing prices for labor and raw materials, Xinhua reported. About one-fifth of small toy factories shut down in Dongguan in 2008.
Infantino Recalls Rattles for Choking Hazard. January 15, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Infantino, has announced a voluntary recall of about 131,000 Infantino Lion and Lamb Grabby Rattles because the tail piece and come off and pose a choking hazard. The company has received 10 reports of the tail piece detaching since March. The rattles were sold at Wal-Mart, Babies "R" Us and specialty stores from May 2007 through September 2008.
Fisher-Price Recalls Portable Play Yards. January 15, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a voluntary recall of about 200,000 Rainforest Portable Play Yards made by Simplicity Inc. and SFCA Inc. based on at least 1,350 reports of rails unexpectedly collapsing and causing, in some instances, injuries to children, including bruises, cuts, a broken nose and a mild concussion. Consumers who own a play yard bearing the Fisher-Price logo (though the company did not make or sell the product) can contact Fisher-Price at 800-432-5437 for details on replacement.
Axiom Recalls Lead-Tainted Kids' Sunglasses. January 15, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Axiom International, has announced a voluntary recall of about 5,300 Children's sunglasses due to surface paint that may contain excessive levels of lead. The Spiderweb Blue and Spiderweb Red varieties were sold at dollar, hardware and party stores from May 2007 through August 2008, and can be returned for a full refund.
Land of Nod Recalls Toy Xylophones. January 14, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with The Land of Nod, has announced a voluntary recall of about 500 Rolling Toy Xylophones following 22 reports of pegs that have broken and could present a choking hazard to children. The toy was sold through the Land of Nod stores, catalog and website from October 2007 through March 2008. Consumers can return the xylophone for a store credit and a $10 gift card.
Giant Bicycle Recalls Bikes for Fall Hazard. January 14, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Giant Bicycle, has announced a voluntary recall of about 1,000 2009 model year TCR Advanced SL and SL (ISP) Bicycles and Frames owing to a fall hazard caused by potential breakage of the forks. The bikes retailed nationwide from August through December 2008. Consumers can contact Giant Bicycle at 866-458-2555 for an evaluation and replacement fork.
Stork Craft Recalls 535,000 Cribs. January 13, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Stork Craft Manufacturing Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 535,000 cribs due to support bracket failure that can put babies at risk of suffocation or entrapment. CPSC has heard of 10 reports of breakage, including one child who became trapped and another who was bruised as a result. The various styles and colors of cribs were sold online and at Wal-Mart, Kmart, and J.C. Penney, as well as other major retailers, from May 2000 through January 2009.
TDI Recalls Lead-Tainted Toy Cars. January 13, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with TDI International, has announced a voluntary recall of about 150 "High Speed" Pull Back Cars due to excessive levels of lead in the surface paints. The cars were sold at small stores in Houston and Hidalgo, Texas, from June through July 2008.
Top Goods Recalls Pacifiers. January 13, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Top Goods Trading, has announced a voluntary recall of about 38,000 Flashing Pacifiers that do not comply with federal regulations. Although marketed to older children, if given to babies, the pacifiers could pose a choking or strangulation hazard. The retailed in Los Angeles from November 2007 through November 2008.
Toy Helicopter Suspected of Transporting Drugs to Prison. January 12, 2009 — Cameras at a prison on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, England, detected a remote-controlled toy helicopter headed for cell blocks on Dec. 23. Officials believe the helicopter could have been dropping drugs or a cell phone, but could find no trace of the toy or related materials in a search, Kent News reported.
Rashti & Rashti Recalls Baby Clothes. January 12, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Rashti & Rashti, has announced a voluntary recall of about 16,000 Taggies Sleep'n Play infant garments because the snaps can come off and pose a choking hazard. The recalled Dinosaur Applique and Pink Toss Print styles retailed at Babies "R" Us, department stores, specialty shops and online from January 2007 through November 2008.
Resellers Exempted from Toy Testing Law. January 8, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission clarified Thursday that thrift stores are not required to have their toys and children's products tested for lead or phthalates under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, the Houston Chronicle reported. There are still questions as far as compliance, however, since the CPSC statement indicates that "resellers ... should avoid products that are likely to have lead content, unless they have testing or other information to indicate the products being sold have less than the new limit." See CPSC press release here.
CPSIA Threatens Thrift Store Toy Sales. January 8, 2009 — Many of the approximately 25,000 secondhand retail stores in the United States are wondering how to ensure compliance with new regulations and testing requirements under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, and some aren't yet aware of the new law and its potential effect on their businesses, the Wall Street Journal reported. Stores could be fined up to $100,000 for violations, yet trying to afford lead testing for so many one-of-a-kind toys could easily push a thrift store out of business. Some shops, including Kids Closet in Rochester, Ill., may opt to stop selling children's furniture and toys altogether if not exempted from CPSIA requirements by Feb. 9, the day before portions of the new law take effect.
HABA Pulls Jewelry from '09 Catalog. January 7, 2009 — HABA USA sales reps have been informed that the company is not including jewelry in its 2009 catalog owing to new and stricter testing regulations under the CPSIA, as well as negative press on children's jewelry in general and the fact that jewelry makes up a small segment of HABA's overall sales in the United States. HABA USA President Lea Culliton also said testing of the company's jewelry items was not completed at the time of the decision, and the company will be further evaluating the category under the new requirements, Lisa Orman of KidStuff PR told TDmonthly.
Despite High Costs, Chinese Toy Factories Must Follow CPSIA. January 7, 2009 — Although a representative of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said this week the organization is seeking cost-effective ways for manufacturers to comply with toy safety rules under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, he made it clear that safety comes first. Despite complaints from Chinese toymakers about financial issues given testing requirements, U.S. and Chinese officials are standing firm that the companies cannot cut any corners in order to comply, the AFP reported.
Jardine Recalls Babies "R" Us Cribs. January 6, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Jardine Enterprises, has announced a voluntary recall of about 56,450 Jardine Cribs sold at Babies "R" Us, other kids' stores and online from March 2004 through January 2009. Since the recall of 320,000 Jardine Cribs in June 2008, the CPSC has been made aware of 19 more incidents of the wooden crib slats breaking, which poses an entrapment or strangulation hazard to babies and toddlers. The recall affects three models: Dark Pine Olympia Lifetime Crib, Antique Walnut Capri Single Crib, and White Capri Lifetime Crib.
Electronics and Select Materials Not Under Lead Law, Says CPSC. January 6, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has voted to exempt electronics and embedded-lead items from lead restrictions set forth in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, Bloomberg reported. In partial answer to toymakers' concerns over the fate of natural products, gemstones, cotton, wool, silk and pearls will neither be required to undergo testing for lead, according to the proposal, which is open for comment for one month and could undergo some changes.
Woodstock Percussion Drums Recalled. December 29, 2008. Approximately 2,800 Calypso steel drums imported from Trinidad by Woodstock Percussion, Inc., have been recalled because of a lead paint variation, the US CPSC announced. Drum rims are stamped with either a "No. 5" or a "No. 6." Not all of the sets stamped with No. 5 are included in the recall. Sold between December 2006 and December 2007 for between $50 and $100,the drums can be returned to Woodstock Percussion for a replacement drum plus a $5 credit. Consumers can call 866-543-2848 for information.
Small Toymakers Fear Closure Over New Testing. December 23, 2008 — TAG Toys is just one domestic wooden toy manufacturer facing the threat of exorbitant testing costs under the CPSIA — $350,000 for a line of 175 toys — that could obliterate annual profit, forcing significant price hikes. Similarly, Little Sapling Toys would incur a $30,000 bill for testing its 20 wooden models, causing the company to go out of business if changes to the new regulations aren't made, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Hallmark Recalls Snow Globes for Fire Hazard. December 23, 2008 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Hallmark Cards Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 7,000 Jumbo Snowman Snow Globes that can ignite nearby combustible materials when exposed to sunlight. The snow globes retailed at Hallmark stores in October and November 2008. Consumers should return the product to the store for a full refund.
Evenflo Recalls 95,000 High Chairs. December 18, 2008 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Evenflo Company Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 95,000 Evenflo Majestic™ High Chairs because plastic caps and metal screws on the sides of the chair can come out and pose fall and choking hazards to children. The company has been made aware of 140 seatbacks reclining or detaching, resulting in nearly 100 reports of injuries, including bruises, scrapes, cuts and two broken bones, and more than 1,000 reports of screws or caps falling out of the chairs. The Evenflo Majestic™ retailed at mass-market and juvenile product stores, as well as Walmart.com, from January 2006 through May 2007. Consumers should contact Evenflo at 800-233-5921 to receive a free repair kit.
Kids' Jewelry Recalled for Lead in Hawaii. December 18, 2008 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Aloha 808 Trading, has announced a voluntary recall of about 12,800 pieces of children's jewelry due to high levels of lead. The eight styles — flower earring, three-flower pendant, necklace with red flower and leaf pendant, and miniature sandals in green, purple, aqua, orange and turquoise — retailed at small stores and kiosks in Honolulu from April through November 2008.
Toy Dinosaurs Recalled for Lead. December 17, 2008 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Xtreme Toy Zone, has announced a voluntary recall of about 480 "Dinosaur Epoch" Toy Dinosaurs because of excessive levels of lead in the surface paint. The toys were made in China and sold from the company's website from May through October 2008.
Phil & Teds Strollers Recalled for Fall Hazard. December 17, 2008 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Regal Lager Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 1,600 Phil & Teds Dash Buggy Strollers that could pose a fall hazard to children due to a faulty frame handle. The product retailed at juvenile product stores and online from July through September 2008. Consumers should stop using the stroller and contact Regal Lager for a replacement frame.
EU Toy Retailers to Sign Safety Agreement. December 17, 2008 — The Toy Traders of Europe, the European Retail Round Table, EuroCommerce and the European Promotional Products Assocation will sign a pact with the European Commission Thursday, agreeing to educate the market on safety standards for toys and to establish "clear safety guidelines ... for use throughout the industry," Reuters reported.
Handmade Toy Alliance Urges Modifications to CPSIA. December 16, 2008 — "Handmade toys will no longer be legal in the U.S." unless changes are made to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, said Dan Marshall, owner of Peapods Natural Toys and Baby Care and a member of the Handmade Toy Alliance. Due to the high cost of third-party testing as mandated under the CPSIA, the newly formed organization is proposing instead random audits for small toymakers, as well as exemptions of materials, such as wool, cotton and wood, that are known not to harbor phthalates or lead, according to a press release.
Center for Environmental Health Finds Lead on Store Shelves. December 16, 2008 — The Oakland, Calif.-based Center for Enrivonmental Health is sending consumer watchdogs to test toys for lead and other harmful chemicals at Wal-mart and specialty toy stores this month, using Thermo Fisher Scientific's handheld Niton XRF Analyzer to screen toys right on the shelves. The consumer group already filed one report with the California attorney general's office, causing Wal-Mart to remove and ban the sale of frog-charm jewelry that the Center said contains lead above the legal limit, the Wall Street Journal reported. Groups such as the Toy Industry Association and manufacturers, however, warn that the XRF method can produce unfair results that need to be backed up by additional testing, and may be used inaccurately if the operator isn't properly trained.
Mattel Shells Out $12 Million to Settle With 39 States. December 16, 2008 — Mattel will pay a collective $12 million to 39 states involved in an investigation over the company's shipments of lead-tainted toys, including Dora the Explorer and Sesame Street toys made in China, that began in August of last year. Bloomberg reported that in addition to payment, Mattel will comply now with lead-reduction guidelines effective August 2009 under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, making sure its toys contain no more than 90 parts per million of lead.
Police Respond to Call, Find Toy Gun at Elementary School. December 12, 2008 — After receiving a call about a Portsmouth, N.H., elementary-school student carrying a weapon on the school bus, police officers went to the school and discovered the student had brought a toy gun. The superintendent said parents are encouraged to keep their kids from bringing such items to school, Foster's Daily Democrat reported.
Lead Suit Against Toymakers Can Go On. December 8, 2008 — A Los Angeles judge ruled Monday that a lawsuit filed in May against Mattel, Target, Wal-Mart and other retailers for producing and selling toys containing high levels of lead or tiny magnets still stands, even though the companies offered replacements for the potentially dangerous toys, the Associated Press reported.
Consumer Groups Sue CPSC. December 4, 2008 — The Natural Resources Defense Council and Public Citizen have filed suit against the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission based on the commission's ruling that the ban on phthalates in children's products, effective Feb. 10 under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, does not apply to toys made prior to that date. The group says the new limits on phthalates should be applied retroactively so there's no loophole in the system, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Toymakers Pay $1.8 Million in Lawsuit Over Lead-Tainted Toys. December 4, 2008 — Mattel, RC2 and seven other toy manufacturers will pay a collective $1.8 million to settle a California lawsuit filed last year over exposure to lead-tainted toys that were made in China, the Associated Press reported. They will comply now with new regulations under the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act of 2008, although the legislation doesn't officially go into effect until February. A fund will be set aside to monitor the companies' compliance with the law, particularly pertaining to lead content.
Selecta Spielzeug Pulls Out of U.S. Market. December 4, 2008 — Germany-based Selecta Toys has announced it will no longer offer its products in the United States, effective Dec. 31, because of increased costs associated with new regulations under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, including U.S. certification of third-party testing centers and differences in testing procedures required for Europe and the United States, President Rex Tompkins of Europlay Corp., which represents Selecta in the United States, told TDmonthly. In a letter to customers, Managing Director Matthias Menzel indicated that compliance with the CPSIA and other rising expenses would force the company to raise its prices by more than 50 percent. According to Tompkins, Selecta's products are safety tested under ASTM and EN71 standards, but certain requirements of the CPSIA would "add significant exponential cost to our operation," potentially into the hundreds of thousands per year. He told TDmonthly the exit will affect nearly 1,200 stores. Käthe Kruse, also under Europlay, will continue its U.S. distribution.
Ecology Center Reports on Toxic Toys. December 3, 2008 — While testing more than 1,500 popular toys with handheld X-ray fluorescence devices, Michigan's Ecology Center found one-third of the products to contain medium or high levels of toxic chemicals, including lead, arsenic and flame retardants. Hannah Montana jewelry was among the items found to have high levels of lead. CNNMoney reported that the Toy Industry Association criticized the report, found on healthytoys.org, for being misleading, saying that the toy industry has been under much tougher scrutiny for the past year and a half.
OKK Trading Recalls Action Figures. December 3, 2008 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with OKK Trading, has announced a voluntary recall of about 5,400 Army Figures due to excessive levels of lead in the surface paint. The 7.5" figures were sold at dollar stores and okktoys.com from June through September 2008.
Manhattan Group Recalls Doll Clothes. December 3, 2008 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Manhattan Group, has announced a voluntary recall of about 9,200 Groovy Fashions™ Sassy Jammies™ Doll Clothing Sets because surface paint on the pajama pants has excessive levels of lead. The clothes retailed at gift stores, online and via mail order from January through October 2008.
U.S. PIRG Reports on "Trouble in Toyland." November 26, 2008 — The annual "Trouble in Toyland" report released by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Tuesday targets products that contain lead or phthalates, or may present a choking hazard to children, as well as outlining highlights of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 passed in August. The following Products named in the survey for being potentially hazardous include the following: JA-RU's Pony Land Scented Pony, for very high levels of the phthalate DINP, a Halloween Skull Earring by Fashion Earrings that contains more than 600 parts per million of lead, and Hasbro's Littlest Pet Shop, for an insufficient label warning of small parts.
U.S. PIRG Reports on "Trouble in Toyland." November 26, 2008 — The annual "Trouble in Toyland" report released by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Tuesday targets products that contain lead or phthalates, or may present a choking hazard to children, as well as outlining highlights of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 passed in August. The following Products named in the survey for being potentially hazardous include the following: JA-RU's Pony Land Scented Pony, for very high levels of the phthalate DINP, a Halloween Skull Earring by Fashion Earrings that contains more than 600 parts per million of lead, and Hasbro's Littlest Pet Shop, for an insufficient label warning of small parts.
U.S. PIRG Issues Phthalate Warning. November 25, 2008 — The U.S. Public Interest Research Group claims the Consumer Product Safety Commission has given toy manufacturers a loophole by failing to apply new legislation on phthalates retroactively, and is urging consumers not to buy toys made of soft plastic this holiday season, for fear they may contain chemicals that could cause reproductive and developmental harm in children. Under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, revised limits for phthalates will take effect in February, though products made with phthalates before that time can still be sold, WebMD reported.
Chinese Toy Factories Cautioned About Faulty Design. November 25, 2008 — China's Foreign Ministry instructed the country's toymakers on Tuesday to avoid taking orders for foreign products based on unsafe designs. Through an increasing number of quality checks and warnings, the Chinese government is trying to avoid recalls like the ones that hit last summer and fall, Reuters reported.
W.A.T.C.H. Releases "Worst Toys" List. November 21, 2008 — World Against Toys Causing Harm announced its annual list of the 10 worst toys on Tuesday, pointing out items it believes have the potential to harm children or have insufficient on-pack warnings. Among the products on the list are Kenscott's Giga Ball, Geoffrey's Animal Alley Purse Pets and Battat's Pucci Puppies House.
Target Recalls Dive Sticks. November 19, 2008 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Target Corp., has announced a voluntary recall of about 365,000 Dive Sticks that could pose an impalement hazard to children if they remain in an upright position. The sticks retailed at Target stores from April through August 2008.
CPSIA Legislation Retroactive for Lead, Not Phthalates, Says CPSC. November 19, 2008 — In a Nov. 17 letter to Arent Fox law firm, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's General Counsel, Cheryl A. Falvey, clarified that while lead content restrictions will apply retroactively to children's products come Feb. 10, 2008 when new regulations under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act take effect, there will be no retroactive standard for phthalate restrictions. Because the ruling on phthalate limits is "a consumer product safety standard under the Consumer Product Safety Act," it does not apply to inventory manufactured before a standard's effective date. Any product not in compliance with the new lead requirements, however, will become "a banned hazardous substance" under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, barring it from sale or manufacture.
Nations Come Together on Toy Safety. November 18, 2008 — Representatives from the United States, the European Union and China met for the premier trilateral summit on product safety Monday in Brussels, discussing the importance of merging tracking systems so that the manufacturers of dangerous toys can quickly and easily be determined per product. The Financial Times reported that officials will meet about new national regulations and international standards in 2009.
Kids' Radios Recalled for Burn Hazard. November 13, 2008 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Cobra Electronics, has announced a voluntary recall of about 8,000 Children's Two-Way Radios because the rechargeable batteries can leak electrolyte, putting consumers at risk for chemical burns. The product retailed exclusively at Toys "R" Us from August through September 2008.
Recall Derails Toy Trains. November 13, 2008 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with JA-RU, has announced a voluntary recall of about 18,000 My Little Train Classics Toy Trains because small parts can come off the toy and pose a choking hazard. The product retailed nationwide from March 2007 through October 2008.
Modell's Recalls Dive Sticks. November 13, 2008 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Modell's Sporting Goods, has announced a voluntary recall of about 130 CORAL Swim 'N Score Pool Stix that could cause impalement injuries if children fall on them in shallow water. The CPSC outlawed certain kinds of dive sticks in 2001. The CORAL Stix retailed at Modell's stores from August 1999 to October 2008.
Officials Warn of Unsafe Toys in Shaky Economy. November 12, 2008 — Amid concern that frugal shoppers might end up with lead-tainted or other dangerous toys in exchange for discounts, Chair Nancy Nord of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is asking parents to research toys they buy from secondhand sellers, as previously recalled products may still be out on the market. Public Policy Directory Alan Korn of Safe Kids Worldwide suggests purchasing "from reputable retailers," including independent toy stores, the Associated Press reported.
Toy-Related Accidents Caused 18 Child Deaths in '07. November 12, 2008 – Reports from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission show that 18 children under 15 years of age died due to incidents involving toys in 2007. Tricycle-related accidents, including drowning in a pool after falling in while riding the toy, were responsible for five of the deaths. Several other children choked on balloons and rubber balls, and a 6-month-old suffocated when he fell off a bed and landed on a plush toy, according to the Associated Press.
Claire's Recalls Children's Leaded Necklaces. November 5, 2008 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Claire's Boutiques Inc., announced a voluntary recall of about 67,000 Best Friends Yin Yang Necklace Sets that contain high levels of lead. The necklaces retailed at Claire's stores from April 2007 through August 2008.
Toy TVs Recalled for Lead. November 4, 2008 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with King Import Warehouse, has announced a voluntary recall of about 2,100 "Mini-Televisor" Toys due to surface paint that may contain excessive levels of lead. The product was sold at www.okktoys.com from July through September 2008.
Toy Xylophones Recalled for Lead. November 4, 2008 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with King Import Warehouse, has announced a voluntary recall of about 144 toy xylophones that retailed at dollar and 99 cent stores in Texas from December 2007 through February 2008 because the surface paint contains excessive levels of lead.
Europe Expects Annual Gain in Toy Sales. November 4, 2008 — Despite the credit crunch and fears of limited holiday spending, Chairman Bryan Ellis of Toy Industries Europe said he anticipates 1 to 2 percent growth for the toy industry in Europe this year. Europe is seeing an increase in toy manufacturing due to factory closures in China, and Ellis noted that consumers should have more confidence in their shopping since there have been fewer toy recalls than in 2007, Reuters reported.
Earth Friendly Recalls Wooden Toys. October 30, 2008 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Earth Friendly LLC, has announced a voluntary recall of about 1,000 wooden toys sold primarily at specialty toy stores along the West Coast because small parts can come off and pose a choking hazard, and the size of the rattle handle does not meet voluntary standards. The recalled toys, featuring colorful, glossy paint, were made in India and include Moee the Car, Cubby the Stackable Bear and the Bell Rattle.
Online Information Affects More Than 50% of Toy Buyers. October 29, 2008 — What's on manufacturers' and retailers' websites matters greatly when it comes to sales, according to the Fall 2008 Ad-ology Media Influence on Consumer Choice survey, which showed that more than half of consumers who purchase toys are influenced by the information they find on these sites. Quality, price, safety and educational value, in that order, are most important to toy buyers, giving specialty toy stores a chance to shine. According to a press release, the survey also found that about 84 percent of consumers would rather purchase toys at a brick-and-mortar store as opposed to an e-commerce site.
Coyne's Recalls Leaded Halloween Figurines. October 29, 2008 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Coyne's & Company Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 14,000 Casper the Friendly Ghost Halloween Mini-Figurines due to high lead levels in the paint on the products. The 3" figurines are available in several varieties and retailed at gift, card, specialty and drug stores from June 2005 through September 2008.
Delta Recalls Cribs After Infant's Death. October 21, 2008 — An 8-month-old boy suffocated when the drop side detached from his crib, prompting the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue a recall of about 600,000 drop side cribs from Delta Enterprise Corp. The spring pegs in the crib's legs can be become disengaged, and detachment of the drop side can create a gap that poses a risk of entrapment. The cribs were made in China and sold at major retailers from January 2000 through January 2007. Parents should find a safe place for their children to sleep until they receive and install a repair kit, which can be obtained by calling 800-816-5304 or visiting cribrecallcenter.com.
Playkids Crib Recalled After Baby's Death. October 16, 2008 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Playkids U.S.A., has announced a voluntary recall of about 2,000 convertible cribs after a 5-month-old died from entrapment and suffocation in August. The crib has expandable mesh on the sides, which allows for a dangerous gap between the mattress and the drop side rail. The cribs were made in China and retailed at juvenile product stores in New York from March 2007 through September 2008. Consumers can contact Playkids at 718-797-0302 for a full refund.
Dollar General Recalls Toy Boats. October 16, 2008 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Dollar General Merchandising Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 200,000 battery-operated toy speed boats because the battery may overheat and pose a burn hazard. The 12" x 8" boat retailed in several colors and styles at Dollar General stores from March through July 2008.
Hasbro Recalls Nerf Blasters. October 9, 2008 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Hasbro Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 330,000 Nerf™ N-Strike Recon Blasters because the plunger can pull the operator's skin during firing, possibly injuring the face, neck or chest. There have been 46 reports of injury, including bruises, pinch marks and blood blisters. The product retailed at Toys "R" Us, Target and Wal-Mart from November 2007 through August 2008. Consumers can contact Hasbro to receive a free cylindrical cover to guard against injury.
Rack Room Recalls Sandals. October 8, 2008 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with importer Rack Room Shoes Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 11,000 Girls' Sandals due to decorative flowers that can come off and pose a choking hazard. The shoes retailed at the company's stores from February through June 2008 and can be returned for a refund or store credit.
Necklaces and Music Players Recalled for Lead Violation. October 7, 2008 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with importer Tween Brands Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 12,000 Children's Ball and Heart Necklaces and Portable CD and MP3 Players because the surfaces may contain excessive levels of lead. The necklaces retailed at Limited Too stores, the CD players online and through the Limited Too catalog, and the MP3 players at Justice stores, from May 2007 through August 2008.
Buzz's Boatyard Recalls Toy Boats. September 30, 2008 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Buzz's Boatyard, has announced a voluntary recall of about 200 Toy Boats, including the 13" Titanic and Hut Pop Pop Boat, that contain excessive levels of lead in the surface paint. The boats were sold on the company's website (www.buzzboats.com) from April to November 2007.
Toy Police Cars Recalled for Lead Paint. September 25, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with TCB Imports, has announced a voluntary recall of about 3,000 Toy Police Cars due to excessive levels of lead in the red paint on the product. The cars were made in China and retailed at dollar and discount stores from May through August 2008.
CPSC to Welcome New Chief of Staff. September 25, 2008 – Quin Dodd, chief of staff at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is leaving his position, effective Oct. 1, to join a consumer product safety group at a law office. Joseph Martyak, counsel to Chairman Nancy Nord, will take over Dodd's position, according to a press release. Martyak has held positions with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the American Legacy Foundation.
Razor Scooters Recalled After Riders Undergo Surgery. September 25, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Razor USA LLC, has announced a voluntary recall of about 103,000 Razor® PowerWing™ Three-Wheeled Scooters because of sharp edges underneath the foot platforms. Among 10 reports of injury, four consumers had to have tendon surgery and three required stitches. The scooters were sold through various retailers nationwide and online from October 2007 through September 2008.
Razor Recalls Four-Wheelers. September 25, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Razor USA LLC, has announced a voluntary recall of about 30,000 Razor® Dirt Quad Electric Powered Ride-On Vehicles due to a throttle controller defect that causes the vehicle to surge forward. Razor has heard of two injuries related to the defect, among 60 reports of the ride-on unexpectedly lurching forward. The four-wheelers retailed nationwide from August 2006 through September 2007. Consumers can contact Razor for a free replacement controller.
Giftco Recalls Harry Potter Bookends. September 23, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Giftco Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 36,000 Harry Potter Bookends because paint on the product contains excessive levels of lead. The bookends were available through fundraisers for elementary schools and at dollar and discount stores from June 2004 through January 2006.
No More Bratz for Scholastic. September 18, 2008 – Scholastic's product line for distribution to schools this fall will not include Bratz books as it did last year, following the company's receipt of more than 5,000 anti-Bratz emails since February 2007. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, based in Boston, and concerned parents and psychologists expressed dismay over the fashion dolls' suggestive clothing and appearance, and the promotion of such sexualization to children. Canwest News Service reported that MGA Entertainment was not available for comment.
Cribs Recalled for Suffocation Hazard. September 17, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with importer/distributor Simplicity Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 600,000 Simplicity Brand Drop Side Cribs because the drop side can partially or fully detach, posing a danger of entrapment and suffocation in the gap that is created. The cribs were sold from January 2005 through August 2008 at retailers including Babies "R" Us, Nebraska Furniture Mart, Target and Wal-Mart.
Regent Recalls Soccer Nets After Child's Death. September 16, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Regent Sports Corporation, has announced a voluntary recall of about 190,000 MacGregor Folding Soccer Goals and Mitre Folding Soccer Goals after a 20-month-old boy died when his arm and neck became tangled in the net. The goals retailed at Wal-Mart, Ace Hardware and other toy and sports stores from May 2002 through May 2008. The 5" x 5" square openings of the net should instead measure 4" x 4".
Pottery Barn Recalls Kids' Water Bottles. September 16, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Pottery Barn Kids, has announced a voluntary recall of about 20,000 Children's Metal Water Bottles because the sip top can detach and present a choking hazard. The water bottles sold via Pottery Barn Kids' stores, catalog and website from January 2007 through August 2008.
Toy Helicopters Recalled for Burn Hazard. September 10, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with importer Ashley Collection Inc., dba Protocol, announced a voluntary recall of about 78,000 "Protocol" Remote-Controlled Mini Helicopter Toys because the rechargeable battery can overheat, melt the body of the helicopter and present a burn or fire hazard to users. It retailed nationwide from October through December 2007 for between $30 and $50.
Australia Considers National Toy Safety Legislation. September 10, 2008 – Following passage of new national standards for toy safety in the United States, toy manufacturers and consumer groups talked over a "single regulatory model" at the first National Toy Summit in Brisbane, the Australian Associated Press reported. The attorney-general of Queensland said the proposed plan is to implement a single set of toy safety laws within two years.
Government Group Questions FDA's Ruling on BPA. September 4, 2008 – Bisphenol A, the plastic-hardening substance often used in baby bottles and food containers, is under scrutiny once again, after the Food and Drug Administration said just last month that trace amounts of the chemical do not pose a risk to adults or children. The Associated Press reported that the National Toxicology Program is again bringing up a report issued in April that found that, based on studies of the chemical's effect on animals, it may present problems with children's brain development and hormonal systems.
TIA and ANSI Partner on Accreditation Program. September 3, 2008 – The Toy Industry Association's Toy Safety Certification Program is moving forward with the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by the Association and the American National Standards Institute. According to a press release, ANSI will serve as the "official accreditor" of the program, assessing product certification bodies based on various federal and international requirements.
HABA Recalls Baby Toys. August 28, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Habermaass Corp., has announced a voluntary recall of wooden puzzles, infant rattles, pacifier holders and stroller toys because small pieces can come off and present a choking hazard. The products were sold in specialty stores and online from January 2002 through August 2008.
Regal Lager Recalls Phil & Teds Strollers. August 28, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Regal Lager Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 44,000 Phil & Teds e3 Single Buggy, e3 Twin Buggy and sport v1Single Buggy Strollers after receiving nine reports of consumers who have injured their fingers in the hinge locking mechanism, which poses a laceration hazard when folding or unfolding the strollers. The strollers retailed at baby stores from August 2003 through August 2003. Consumers should contact Regal Lager to get a repair kit for the hinge cover.
TDmonthly Honors 44 Products in 2008 Awards Program. August 27, 2008 – In a quest to uncover the most positive toys of the year, for both specialty retailers and consumers, TDmonthly Magazine has bestowed awards on 44 toys, games and gift items in its second annual awards program. View the press release here, and see photos and information on all the winners at TDmonthly.com. Check out TDmonthly's 2008 Specialty Toys Report, "Positive Toys for a Promising Future,"™ to view profile pages on the awardees, as well as more than 160 other great products!
Taggies Stroller Activity Bars Recalled. August 26, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with International Playthings, has announced a voluntary recall of about 10,000 Taggies™ Strollin' Along Stroller Activity Bar because the shiny tags on the elephant's ear can come off and present a choking hazard. The product retailed at specialty toy stores and online from February 2007 through July 2008.
U.S. to Place Inspectors at Chinese Ports. August 26, 2008 – In response to a slew of safety issues involving food, drug and toy products made in China, as many as 15 U.S. inspectors will be stationed at ports in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou in order to check exports, Bloomberg News reported.
France Outlaws Television for Babies. August 20, 2008 – Alarmed by reports that watching television hinders development in children under the age of 3, France's High Audiovisual Council has issued an order preventing French channels from airing shows created for infants and toddlers. Christine Albanel, the country's minister for culture and communication, called cable shows "BabyFirstTV" and "Baby TV" "a danger" back in June, the Associated Press reported. Cable operators that put forth foreign programming for babies must now include warning messages about possible developmental effects, which, according to the Council, may include passivity and difficulty with sleeping, concentrating and learning language.
Hobbico Recalls Helicopter Batteries for Fire Hazard. August 19, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Hobbico Inc., announced a voluntary recall of about 11,000 batteries used in radio-controlled helicopter kits because the batteries can overheat and start a fire. The company has received 27 reports of flames from overheating batteries. The Electrifly lithium-polymer batteries retailed individually and with Heli-Max Axe CP-L radio-controlled helicopter kits at hobby stores and online from November 2007 through March 2008.
President Signs Toy Safety Bill. August 14, 2008 – The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 became law Thursday when President Bush signed the bill that, under close scrutiny for months, has been largely praised by consumers but criticized by some industry groups, MarketWatch reported. Primary provisions of the legislation include a five-year plan for increased CPSC funding, third-party testing for select children's products, lowered limits on allowable amounts of lead in children's products, a partial ban of phthalates, the development of a public database to house consumer complaints, whistleblower protections for industry employees, CPSC authorization to examine manufacturers' labs, and requirements for the CPSC to create new toy safety rules.
TDmonthly's Specialty Toys Report Available NOW! August 13, 2008 – RETAILERS: ToyDirectory and TDmonthly Magazine are excited to bring you a new report to help you increase your profits. TDmonthly's 2008 Specialty Toys Report, "Positive Toys for a Promising Future,"™ highlights more than 200 extensively researched new and well-performing products, including display ideas, key features, age recommendations, safety/testing information and wholesale/ordering data, so that you can be even more informed as you order for the holiday season. As a bonus, when you gain access to the Report, you'll also be privy to a brand new eBook called "In the BLACK: TDmonthly's Essential Toy Retailing Tips" — a can't-miss publication that combines 4000+ pages of TDmonthly's tips from experts and retailers into easily consulted chapters. Click here to find out more about the report, and to gain access at a discounted price through the month of August. Also, be sure to check out the 44 winners of TDmonthly's 2008 Awards!
Toy Walkie-Talkie Pulled After Picking Up Truckers' Profanity. August 7, 2008 – Wal-Mart's website said a toy walkie-talkie made by Fisher-Price is being discontinued after a West Virginia mother claimed her 3-year-old's toy pulled in a discussion between truckers who were using expletives and talking about strip bars and drugs. The Associated Press reported that Fisher-Price made an apology for the mom's "disappointing experience."
Fisher-Price Recalls Learning Toys. August 7, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Fisher-Price, has announced a voluntary recall of about 15,000 Learning Pots & Pans™ Toys because missing screws in the blue pan can cause the plastic cover to detach and release small balls that can present a choking hazard. The product retailed at department and toy stores from October 2007 through August 2008.
Toy Gun Causes Alarm in San Diego. August 6, 2008 – Police officers in San Diego showed up at an elementary school Thursday after receiving a call about someone with a gun in a nearby yard. Two boys were playing with an Airsoft toy rifle made to look like the real thing, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
Companies Recall Cribs. August 5, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firms mentioned below, has announced voluntary recalls of the following cribs because the mattress support systems do not comply with the 26" minimum height at their lowest setting, posing a fall hazard to children who might try to climb over the railing: about 500 Davenport Cribs imported by Baby Appleseed, sold at specialty stores nationwide from December 2006 through September 2007, and about 1,300 Cribs by Mother Hubbard's Cupboards, available from March 2006 through March 2008.
Oppenheims Lower Limits, Raise Standards. August 5, 2008 – As states and the federal government crack down on lead paint and other potentially harmful substances in toys, at least one award program for the toy industry is following suit. According to a press release, manufacturers that submit products to the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio for review this fall must comply with California's standard for phthalates and the toys must not contain more than 100 ppm of lead on the surface nor 200 ppm of substrate lead.
Toys "R" Us Supports Safety Bill. August 1, 2008 – Following the passage of bill H.R. 4040, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, Thursday, CEO Jerry Storch of mega-retailer Toys "R" Us expressed gratitude to "Congress for working so diligently to pass this landmark legislation." According to a press release, Toys "R" Us, which has recently partnered with Safe Kids Worldwide and launched a safety website, believes the new standards will help retailers as they strive to provide high-quality toys and other children's products.
Earthentree Recalls Wooden Toys. July 29, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Earthentree, has announced a voluntary recall of about 375 wooden toys, including maracas, pull toys, rattles and trains due to small parts that may break off and pose a choking hazard and string that is longer than 12" and could present a strangulation hazard. Additionally, the rattles do not meet requirements of the federal rattle standard. Manufactured in India, the products were sold online, at trade shows and at stores nationwide from December 2007 through May 2008.
Congress Ends Debate on Toy Safety Law. July 29, 2008 – President George W. Bush is expected to sign into law this week a bill that would increase the budget for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, significantly decrease the allowable amount of lead in products for children 12 and under, ban six chemicals used in the manufacture of plastics, heighten fines for safety violations, require toy manufacturers to put their products through rigorous safety tests, and establish a database that allows the public to file product safety concerns. The law would also give states freedom to implement their own, tougher safety standards that could trump federal requirements, the Chicago Tribune reported. The lead standard for toys and other children's products would limit content to 600 parts per million within 180 days, 300 ppm after 12 months, and 100 ppm within three years.
Innovage Recalls R/C Copters Due to Fire Risk. July 24, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with importer/distributor Innovage LLC, has announced a voluntary recall of about 685,000 "Sky Scrambler" and "The Sharper Image" Wireless Indoor Helicopters because the lithium ion battery can overheat and start a fire. The helicopters were sold at mass-market, department and drug stores as well as online from June 2007 through May 2008.
Kids II Recalls Rattles. July 24, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with distributor Kids II Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 19,000 Bright Starts Ring Rattles because the tip of the antenna can come off and present a choking hazard. The product was sold in toy and mass-market stores from January through June 2008.
Magnets Recalled Due to Lead Paint. July 24, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Pacific Science Supplies Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 40,000 U-shaped magnets, bar magnets, magnet sets and magnet needle sets because there may be excessive levels of lead in the paint on the magnets. The products were sold to schools, colleges and select educational stores from April 2000 through February 2008. Dowling Magnets recalled about 91,500 Classic Horseshoe Magnets also due to excessive lead levels in paint. These magnets retailed through specialty stores and educational product distributors from March 2003 through April 2008.
U.S. Weighs Phthalate Ban. July 24, 2008 – A congressional committee headed by Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., is in the process of reviewing House and Senate versions of a bill that would implement a nationwide ban on phthalates in children's toys. Some are concerned that ExxonMobil's lobbying will affect the policy, but a company representative contends that the phthalate DINP manufactured by ExxonMobil has been deemed safe in various studies, MotorCityMoms.com reported. The Toy Industry Association also points to studies that have shown DINP to be safe for use in children's products.
NRF Lobbies on Toy Legislation in 1Q. July 14, 2008 – The National Retail Federation spent $480,000 during the first quarter to lobby on issues of health care, prescription drug prices and credit care immunity as well as legislation that would overhaul the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and set new toy safety standards.
Chinese Workers Suffer for Sesame Street's Ernie. July 14, 2008 – The National Labor Committee is putting out a 30-page report called "Nightmare on Sesame Street," detailing labor violations at Kai Da Toy factory in Shenzhen, China, where even children and teens work more than 100 hours per week and are paid only $36.55 for 89 hours of work. Workers must endure a mice-infested cafeteria and dorms without toilets or water, according to a press release. The Ernie toy, manufactured by K'NEX and distributed by Hasbro, launches in the United States and Europe this week.
Action Products Recalls Charm Kits. July 10, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with importer Action Products International Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 18,500 Children's Charm Craft Kits because the included clasp contains high lead levels. The "Super Dooper Charms" and "Shoelace Charms" kits retailed at various stores from July 2007 through April 2008.
F.A.F. Recalls Lead-Tainted Jewelry. July 10, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with importer F.A.F Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 30,000 units of "Faded Glory" Lip Gloss, Locket and Bracelet Sets sold at Wal-Mart because the bracelet clasp contains high lead levels. It was sold in May and June of 2008.
Toddler's Death Prompts Recall of Toy Chest Beds. July 3, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with importer Bayside Furnishings, has announced a voluntary recall of about 9,350 LaJolla Boat and Pirates of the Caribbean Twin Trundle Beds following the death of a 22-month-old, Roseville, Calif., boy whose neck was trapped against the edge of the attached chest when the lid fell. The beds retailed at Costco, furniture stores and online from January 2006 through May 2008. Consumers may contact the company at 877-494-2536 or visit www.baysidefurnishings.com for information on receiving a free repair kit.
Bead Bazaar Recalls Jewelry. July 3, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with distributor Bead Bazaar USA Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 13,000 "It's a Girl Thing" Bracelets, Necklaces and Phone Charms that may contain high levels of lead. The products were sold at various retailers nationwide from February 2006 through June 2008.
Mattel's 1Q Lobbying Exceeds $200,000. June 30, 2008 – During the first quarter of the year, Toymaker Mattel Inc. shelled out $210,000 to lobby the U.S. government on the CPSC Reform Act and currency and trade issues related to China, the Associated Press reported.
Coolibar Recalls Jackets. June 27, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with importer Coolibar Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 3,000 Children's Sun Block Jackets and Hoodies because the hood drawstrings may pose a strangulation hazard. The hoodies and jackets were sold through the company's catalog and online from March 2005 through April 2008 and from February through April 2008, respectively.
Westminster Recalls Helicopters for Fire Risk. June 26, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with importer/distributor Westminster Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 102,000 "Thunder Wolf" Remote Controlled Indoor Helicopters because the interior rechargeable battery can overheat and cause the helicopter body to melt as well as posing fire and burn risks. The company has received reports of one incident involving flames and a couple of instances of property damage, in addition to other reports of overheating. The product was sold from June through December 2007, and the recall affects only those models that do not have "Made in China" on the bottom of the helicopter.
Stanley Furniture Recalls Cribs. June 26, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with manufacturer Stanley Furniture Company Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 1,200 2nd Nature Built to Grow Cribs because the space between the crib and mattress is too wide when the mattress support is in the middle setting, and may cause infants to become trapped. The product sold at furniture and department stores from March 2006 through December 2007.
Congress Eases Third-Party Testing Rule. June 25, 2008 – A requirement that toy companies must have their products tested by independent labs was a key portion of the House and Senate bills originally put forth to overhaul the CPSC and enhance toy safety. But since Mattel lobbied for the use of its in-house labs last year, both sides inserted an amendment that would permit some toymakers' own labs to gain federal approval for testing — a privilege that some legislators worry could be abused. Congress is scheduled to discuss this particular provision today, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Girls' Sandals Recalled for Choking Danger. June 24, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with manufacturer Meyeworld, has announced a voluntary recall of about 1,500 Nordstrom's Cadence-Lea and Trio-Lea Girls' Sandals due to decorative flowers that can come off and present a choking hazard. The shoes, made in China, retailed at Nordstrom's department stores from March through May 2008.
FGX Recalls Key Chains Sold at Wal-Mart. June 19, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with importer FGX International Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 39,000 "Hip Charm" Key Chains due to high levels of lead in the charms. Available in seven styles, the key chains retailed at Wal-Mart stores from April 2005 through June 2008.
Congress to Meet on Toy Safety. June 16, 2008 – This week, members of the House and Senate are scheduled to meet to work out the differences in two consumer safety bills, H.R. 4040 and S. 2663, that would lower acceptable limits of lead in toys and bring change to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The Hill reported that there may be a vote on a conference report before the Fourth of July.
Pacific Cycle Recalls Merry-Go-Rounds. June 12, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Pacific Cycle Inc, has announced a voluntary recall of about 15,000 Playsafe Spinning Quad Merry-Go-Rounds because the inner bearing can fail and cause the seats to fall to the ground. The company has been made aware of one child falling from the toy and getting hurt. The Merry-Go-Rounds were sold at Toys "R" Us stores from January through March 2008.
Sara Lynn Togs Recalls Overalls. June 12, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Sara Lynn Togs, has announced a voluntary recall of about 1,800 Infant and Toddler Shortalls because the buttons on the shoulder straps can come off and pose a choking hazard. The collegiate-themed gingham and flannel overalls retailed at college bookstores, gift stores and children's boutiques from March 2007 through February 2008.
China Retracts Hundreds of Export Licenses. June 11, 2008 – China, a country whose toy exports total 22 billion each year, has pulled the export licenses of 700 toy factories for not meeting all safety regulations, the Press Trust of India reported. More than 3,000 factories were inspected as part of a campaign last August, and China is still working on improving consumer product safety, with plans to meet with U.S. and EU officials in September.
Phthalate Ban Ups EU's Reports of Poor Quality Chinese Toys. June 10, 2008 – The European Union reported nearly 400 cases of "substandard" toys from China last year, more than double the amount of cases filed in 2006. According the Xinhua, the increase is due in part to an EU directive that banned phthlates in children's products in January 2007, after some exports had already arrived.
Lawmakers Meet on Phthalates and Bisphenol A. June 10, 2008 – A House Energy and Commerce Committee is meeting Tuesday to discuss the use of bisphenol A and plastic-softening phthalates in baby bottles and other products for children, since some studies have shown the chemicals to be dangerous to a child's health and development. The Associated Press reported that Democratic Senators have issued their own bill to keep bisphenol A out of all children's products, and Wal-Mart has already taken steps to ensure that its suppliers eliminate or reduce the amount of both chemicals in various products.
Lead-Tainted Pajamas Recalled. June 10, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with The Children's Place Retail Stores Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 28,000 Camouflage Pajama Sets because there are high levels of lead in the screen printing on the shirt. Manufactured in Vietnam, the pajamas were sold at The Children's Place stores and online from December 2006 to January 2008.
Swing Sets Recalled. June 10, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with distributor Backyard Leisure LLC, has announced a voluntary recall of about 11,000 Adventure Play Sets and Create N Adventure Wooden Play Sets because the hangers securing the glider chains can come off and pose a fall hazard. The company has heard of 114 hangars breaking, and three children have received minor injuries. The products, available in four models, retailed at Wal-Mart and Toys "R" Us stores from January through May 2008.
Animal Tracking Kit Backtracked by Recall. June 5, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with MindWare, has announced a voluntary recall of about 2,200 Animal Tracking Explorer Kits because the set's "Plaster of Paris" powder is calcium hydroxide, which can irritate eyes and skin. The product was available through MindWare's catalog and website from September through December 2007.
Crib Mattresses Face Recall. June 5, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Simmons Kids, has announced a voluntary recall of about 20,000 Simmons Kids Crib Mattresses that could potentially entrap babies because the size of the mattresses do not meet minimum measurements, leaving space between each mattress and the side of the crib. One 6-month-old got trapped between a mattress and crib frame but was unharmed. The product retailed at Pottery Barn Kids and other nursery furniture stores from July 2006 through May 2008.
Australian Consumer Group Issues Link-a-doos Warning. June 4, 2008 – The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has alerted parents of a possible inhalation hazard with black and white Link-a-doos made by Fisher-Price, according to the Daily Telegraph. The white plastic edging may detach and present safety issues for young children.
Lead-Tainted Jewelry Recalled. June 3, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with importer Daiso Seattle LLC, has announced a voluntary recall of about 50 pieces of childrens jewelry due to high levels of lead. The bracelets and Zodiac-sign necklaces retailed in Washington state from October through December 2007.
Parents Want Magnetix Pulled. June 3, 2008 – The Chicago Tribune reported that the parents of an 8-year-old who underwent emergency surgery for intestinal tears after swallowing magnets and steel balls from a MEGA Brands Magnetix MagnaCase set in May, are planning a meeting with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and believe the toy should be removed from retail shelves. MEGA Brands called the occurrence "very isolated," but is in the process of doing away with its Magnetix line.
Key Industry Members Refuse to Renew ASTRA Membership. June 2, 2008 – In a series of emails forwarded to TDmonthly Magazine, Stevanne Auerbach (aka Dr. Toy) and Frank Martin of Frank Martin Toys resigned their memberships to ASTRA, owing to the failure of that organization to adopt a Code of Ethics aimed at deterring "copycat" products that infringe on others' intellectual properties. Last year, TIA adopted a "Code of Conduct" based on the recommendations of a committee headed by Dr. Toy, Marshall Gavin of b. dazzled, inc. and Stuart Montaldo of Cogno Products. Dr. Toy and Frank Martin are hoping that ASTRA will soon do the same. However, even such a move may not win back the detractors. Gavin is boycotting the TIA because its "Code of Conduct" does not penalize violators.
Tiny Helicopters Burst Into Flames, Get Recalled. May 30, 2008. The CPSC today announced a voluntary recall of "Sky Champion" remote-controlled helicopters owing to a risk that their rechargable battery can catch fire, posing a burn hazard. While no one has yet been injured, two reports of the little copters catching fire have been documented. The toys are imported by Tradewinds International Enterprises. Inc. They were sold at Walgreens stores nationwide from June 2007 through November 2007 for about $20.
Kids Stations Recalls 1 Million Little Tikes Toy Cell Phones. May 28, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with manufacturer Kids Station Toys International Ltd., has announced a voluntary recall of about 1 million Little Tikes Chit 'N Chat Toy Cell Phones because the hinged cover can come off and pose a choking hazard. The product retailed at department, drug and juvenile product stores from June 2006 through March 2008.
Boys' Sweatshirts Recalled. May 28, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with distributor Adio Footwear, has announced a voluntary recall of about 300 Boys' Hooded Zip Fleece Sweatshirts because the drawstring in the hood may pose a strangulation hazard. The product retailed at Tilly's and Bob's stores from October through December 2007.
Toys "R" Us Japan to Recall Barrettes. May 22, 2008 – Toys "R" Us Japan has announced that it will recall about 15,000 lead-tainted hair accessories manufactured in China, Reuters reported.
Lead Weighs Down Horse Toys. May 22, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Toy Investments Inc., dba Toysmith, has announced a voluntary recall of about 300 Floppy Friends Horse Toys that contain excessive levels of lead in surface paints. The product retailed at hobby, gift and toy stores as well as gas stations from February through April 2008.
American Scientific Recalls Magnets. May 22, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with American Scientific LLC, has announced a voluntary recall of about 87,000 magnets that have high levels of lead in surface paints. The bar-, horseshoe- and U-shaped magnets were sold to schools via independent distributors from October 2006 through February 2008.
United Scientific Recalls 2.35 Million Magnets. May 22, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with United Scientific, has announced a voluntary recall of about 2.35 million magnets that contain high levels of lead in surface paints. The various magnets and sets recalled were sold to schools via independent distributors from October 1996 through September 2007 for use in science classrooms. More than 20 model numbers are affected by the recall.
Tinker Bell's Pearls Tainted With Lead. May 22, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with
Disney Store and importer Hoop Retail Stores LLC, has announced a voluntary recall of about 8,000 Tinker Bell Wand because there are excessive levels of lead in the paint used on the beads of the flowers. The sound-and-light wands sold at Disney stores from April through October 2007.
West Music Recalls Instrument. May 22, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with importer/distributor Antigua Winds Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 6,500 Basic Beat Shaker Guiro Instruments, due to excessive levels of lead in surface paints. The instrument was sold through West Music stores and catalog, as well as online, from November 2001 through March 2008.
Disney Recalls Pirates Sleeping Bags. May 22, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Disney Store and importer Hoop Retail Stores LLC, has announced a voluntary recall of about 4,100 Pirates of the Caribbean Sleeping Bagelcause there are excessive levels of lead in surface paints on the zipper pull. The product was sold at Disney stores from April through October 2007.
Cowboy Toys Recalled for Lead. May 20, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with importer Master Toys & Novelties Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 6,000 Cowboy on a Horse Little Rider Toys because surface paint on the rider's pants and shoe has excessive levels of lead. The product retailed at dollar and discount stores from April 2007 through January 2008.
Douglas Recalls Blankets. May 20, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Douglas Co., has announced a voluntary recall of about 74,000 Lil' Snugglers™ Children's Blankets because the satin edging can detach from the main blanket and pose a strangulation hazard. The 14"-square blankets feature animal heads and were sold at specialty stores and online from April 2005 through December 2007.
Manhattan Recalls Rattles. May 15, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Manhattan Group LLC, has announced a voluntary recall of about 7,000 Tumble Tower Infant Rattles because the plastic endcaps can break and small parts may present a choking hazard to young children. The rattles retailed at specialty stores, through catalogs and online from September 2007 through April 2008.
Jackets at TJ Maxx Recalled. May 15, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with distributor Maran Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 6,000 Squeeze Kids Girl's Corduroy Jackets because the drawstring for the hood may pose a strangulation hazard. The jackets were sold at TJ Maxx stores in January 2007.
Retail Giants Ready for New Standards. May 14, 2008 – Wal-Mart suppliers must, by fall of this year, comply with stricter safety standards for children’s products, including tougher limits on lead, other heavy metals and harmful chemicals. According to the Wall Street Journal, suppliers are also urged to label items with traceability data, which would include the factory where each product is manufactured. Also anticipating the passage of federal legislation centered on toy safety, Toys “R” Us and Target are implementing tighter standards as well, the Associated Press reported.
Munchkin Recalls Baby Bottle Warmers. May 8, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Munchkin Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 5,000 Deluxe Bottle and Food Warmers because the products can overheat and pose a fire hazard. The warmers retailed nationwide and in the Munchkin catalog from June 2007 through April 2008.
States Battle Toy Guns. May 4, 2008 – Fifteen states are instituting measures to minimize confusion between toy guns and real guns among law enforcement officials. The orange tips on toy firearms are sometimes covered or removed, so some governments are banning toy guns from vehicles and convenience stores, the Associated Press reported.
Kids' Storage Bins Recalled. May 1, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with manufacturer Magus Industry Co. Ltd. and importer L G Sourcing Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 84,000 Children's Storage Bins that may contain excessive levels of lead in the surface paints. The bins retailed at Lowe's stores from March 2007 through February 2008.
Democrats Propose BPA Ban. April 30, 2008 – Democratic senators announced a bill Tuesday that would prohibit the inclusion of bisphenol A, a chemical commonly used in plastics, in all items for children up to age 7. Sens. Hillary Clinton and John Kerry are among the bill's co-sponsors, the Washington Post reported.
Nintendo Recalls Pins. April 29, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Nintendo of America Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 71,000 character-themed metal lapel pins that contain high levels of lead. There are 12 styles of different video game characters, and the pins retailed at Nintendo stores and were distributed to game store employees all over the country from April 2004 through November 2007.
Baby Santa Outfits Recalled. April 24, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with distributor Avon Products Inc. and importer MacSwed Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of Infant Santa Outfits due to potential choking hazards from pom poms and snaps on the clothing. The outfits were available through Avon independent sales reps in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands from August 2006 through November 2007.
Iraq Drafts Toy Gun Ban. April 22, 2008 – In an attempt to cut down on aggression among children growing up in a war zone, the government of Iraq is considering a bill that would make it illegal to import fireworks or toy guns into the country, the Associated Press reported.
Beco Baby Recalls Infant Carriers. April 22, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Beco Baby Carrier Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 2,000 Beco Baby Butterfly Carriers because the carrier straps can slip through the shoulder buckles and present a fall hazard to the baby. The nine styles included in the recall were sold at specialty retail stores and online from January through February 2008.
Wal-Mart Pulls Key Chains. April 18, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 12,000 "Hip Charm" Key Chains that contain high levels of lead. The products sold from April 2005 through April 2008.
Santa's Toy Recalls Push Toys. April 16, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Santa's Toy Corp., has announced a voluntary recall of about 9,000 Western Rider Push Toys due to excessive levels of lead on the shirt, pants and glove of the rider. The product retailed at dollar and discount stores from February 2005 through February 2008.
Asbestos Group Sues Toymaker. April 13, 2008 – The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization has filed a lawsuit against manufacturer Planet Toys Inc., CBS Corporation and multiple retailers over a "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" toy kit the organization said tested positive for asbestos. The group demands that the toy — which was pulled last year by the manufacturer, whose tests did not find asbestos — have a warning of hazardous materials and that consumers are issued a full refund for returns, according to Reuters.
NYC Targets Store's Toy Guns. April 11, 2008 – Party City, a store chain that was fined $150,000 in 2003 for selling authentic-looking toy firearms, is now under fire for selling the guns again in New York City, where the City Department of Consumer Affairs claims inspectors uncovered more than 800 of the guns at the retail stores since last fall. The charge could lead to an $800,000 fine, Newsday reported.
FUNTASTIC Recalls Hillbilly Teeth. April 10, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with FUNTASTIC, has announced a voluntary recall of about 26,000 Hillbilly Teeth because gray surface paint on the product has excessive levels of lead. The teeth, made in China, retailed at mass-market, drug, convenience and grocery stores from March 2005 through March 2008. Also recalled due to high levels of lead at the surface were about 310,000 Seasonal Writing Pens sold at Michaels stores from August 2007 through March 2008.
OKK Trading Recalls Toy Robots. April 9, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with OKK Trading Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 2,000 Interchange Robot Toys due to excessive levels of lead in surface paints. The robots retailed at dollar stores from October through December 2007.
Dalmatian Press Recalls Books. April 8, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Dalmatian Press LLC, has announced a voluntary recall of about 17,000 Little Builder Children's Board Book Sets with Toys because the cylinder piece on the concrete mixer and the dump truck's tailgate can come off and present a choking hazard. The books sold at various stores and online from August 2007 through February 2008.
Henry Gordy Recalls Dart Boards. April 8, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with importer Henry Gordy International Inc., has announced a voluntary recall of about 870,000 Fun 'N Games Magnetic Dart Boards because small magnets on the ends of the darts can come off and pose serious internal hazards if swallowed. The product retailed at Family Dollar stores from September 2002 through March 2008.
Activity Centers and Sunglasses Recalled. April 3, 2008 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a voluntary recall of about 16,400 Imaginarium Multi-Sided Activity Centers and Jungle Activity Centers sold at Toys "R" Us stores and online from August 2007 through February 2008, due to small parts that can come off and present a choking hazard to small children. Also recalled were about 144,000 "Main Street Drag" Children's Sunglasses, imported and distributed by StyleMark Inc., due to excessive levels of lead in some of the surface paint. The glasses retailed at Walgreens, Academy Sports, Payless and CVS stores from October 2007 through March 2008.
Nord Urges New EU Safety Standard. April 3, 2008 – As officials from the United States and European Union prepare for a June meeting on toy safety standards, Nancy Nord, chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, has recommended that the EU look at adopting a new mandatory standard and safety mark like the one Congress is considering. EU Consumer Commissioner Maglena Kuneva is in support of a trans-Atlantic standard that would mandate participation from China, Reuters reported.
Washington Governor Signs Bill. April 2, 2008 – Gov. Chris Gregoire of Washington passed HB 2647, the Children's Safe Products Act, on Tuesday. Effective July 2009, the law requires that no children's product — including toys, jewelry, cosmetics and car seats — that is manufactured, sold or distributed in the state may exceed .009 percent of lead, .10 percent of phthlates or .004 percent of cadmium. Gregoire is forming an advisory group to assess the bill and propose changes that could be made to the legislation next session, according to an Associated Press report.
According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the governor vetoed two parts of the bill, including the necessity for a state-established website providing public data on harmful chemicals in children’s products, and deadlines for manufacturers to issue reports of which of their items contain dangerous chemicals as defined by the Department of Ecology. The veto encompasses Sections 1 and 8 — not Section 5, which is what retailers were pushing for (see below: Toy Store Urges Partial Veto of Safety Bill).
Owner Brekke Hewitt of Olympia, Wash.’s Wind Up Here toy store called the governor’s decision “very wise,” however, noting that “in a strange and miraculous way, it might have the same positive effect as vetoing Section 5."
Section 5 of the bill — which would require toymakers to submit reports on certain chemicals in their products — is written to become effective six months after rules are adopted according to the vetoed Section 8. As Pearse Edwards, spokesperson for Gov. Gregoire, explained to TDmonthly, “Section 5 is on hold until we make changes to the law in the ‘09 session,” which will conclude in May of 2009.
See the full text of the bill here.
Toy Store Urges Partial Veto of Safety Bill. March 31, 2008 – Calling for a veto of Section 5 of the Children's Safe Products Act, HB 2647 in Washington state, Owners Brekke Hewitt and Gail Small of Wind Up Here toy store in Olympia, Wash., sent an email to their customers and sales reps today expressing how the bill threatens the availability of safe toys in the state. Here is an excerpt:
"HB2647 has the most noble of intentions; to make toys in Washington the safest in the world. Unfortunately, I know that it has the potential to do exactly the opposite. The harsh reporting standards in Section 5 of this bill will have a dreadful result. They ask every toy maker to pay for and file expensive full chemical analysis reports even when [their] toys meet the safety standards. Small specialty toy makers, the ones that stock the shelves of Wind Up Here, Top Ten Toys, Teaching Toys, Dragon’s Toy Box, Kazoodles and so many other specialty toy stores in Washington, will no longer be able to afford to market their toys to Washington. As a group the specialty toy stores of this state have contacted many manufacturers and distributors of our great toys and we have heard the same answer again and again: No; we won’t ship our toys to Washington anymore if the bill goes through as it is."
The email encourages readers to contact Gov. Chris Gregoire's office at 306-902-4111, urging her to veto Section 5. HB 2647 is scheduled to become law this Friday; see the bill here and track its progress.
Washington Bill Sparks Controversy. March 28, 2008 – While the Washington Toxics Coalition and the American Association of Pediatrics are pushing for passage of the Child Protection Safety Act in Washington state, representatives of the toy industry maintain that the bill might cause big problems as it's currently written. A primary concern is its restrictions on lead and phthalates regardless of where the materials exist in a toy — which means that toys with interior electronic components could be outlawed, according to the Seattle Times.
State Fears Ban Will Hurt Sales. March 27, 2008 – Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire is pondering veto or modification of a proposed state-wide ban on toxic toys, as manufacturers ponder future sales to the state and industry representatives struggle with certain restrictions outlined in the bill. One novelty-store owner claims the bill isn't clear in its definitions of toys and children, and fears the legislation could force him to close up shop, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.
Washington Bill Lowers Lead Limit. March 25, 2008 – The state of Washington has passed a bill, pending signature from Gov. Chris Gregoire, that would change the limit of lead in children's toys to 90 parts per million and establish harsh restrictions for phthalates and cadmium, according to the Wall Street Journal. Toymakers Mattel and Hasbro met with the governor earlier this month to try to stop the legislation, and some small manufacturers may cease sales in the state if the bill becomes law.
Qatar Steps Up Safety. March 25, 2008 – The Qatar Organization for Standards and Metrology has announced its intention to import safety-testing machinery within the next 30 to 45 days in order to ensure the quality of toy imports as well as products already on retail shelves, according to the Peninsula. Imports lacking export declarations showing that the toys are lead-free are currently being held at a port, resulting in losses for several businesses.
Banned Beads are Back. March 23, 2008 – Bindeez beads, known by the name of Aqua Dots in the United States and banned since November, are being reintroduced in Australia under the name Beados, according to ShortNews. The product was recalled in November after several children swallowed the beads and were hospitalized because of a dangerous, coma-inducing chemical in the toy's makeup.
Center Finds Lead in Hannah Montana Toys. March 20, 2008 – The Oakland, Calif.-based Center for Environmental Health has reported finding high levels of lead in nine of 28 Hannah Montana products it bought and tested, according to CBS News. Disney refutes the claims and the Consumer Product Safety Commission has not issued a recall.
Study Shows Phthalates in Toys. March 19, 2008 – The Washington Toxics Coalition has released a report, "Not So Squeaky Clean: A Study of Phthalates in Toys," outlining the results of tests that targeted 20 toys sold at mass retailers. Almost half of the products screened were found to contain phthalates, many at high levels.
Lead Colors Easter Eggs. March 18, 2008 – According to tests conducted by Ashland University students under the supervision of chemistry professor Jeffrey D. Weidenhamer, 13 of 45 Easter-related items from retail shelves contained amounts of lead exceeding the federal limit of 600 parts per million. Hobby Lobby is removing Easter eggs and spinning tops found to have excessive levels of lead, and is conducting further tests and working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission concerning a recall, the Associated Press reported.
MEGA Brands and Intertek Partner for Safe Toys. March 18, 2008 – MEGA Brands has announced that it will work with testing company Intertek to ensure sound design and quality that meets or exceeds worldwide safety standards in the development of a new magnetic system this year, according to a press release.
Senate Passes Bill. March 7, 2008 – With a 79-13 vote Thursday, the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 4040, boosting resources for the Consumer Product Safety Commission and banning lead (more than trace amounts) in children's toys, the Associated Press reported. See more legislative action here.
Senate Considering Safety Bill. March 6, 2008 – A Senate vote on Wednesday banned industry-paid travel for U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission employees, according to the Washington Post. The latest Senate bill concerning product safety, S. 2663, is a CPSC reform bill that modifies portions of S. 2045 and H.R. 4040, both of which were introduced in the fall. It would raise CPSC funding to more than $88 million for 2009, require independent third-party testing of products for children, increase civil penalties, eventually ban children's products containing more than 100 parts per million of lead, and allow the creation of a public database for consumer reports related to risks associated with consumer products, as reported by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.
China Vows Safety. March 5, 2008 – In a two-hour speech given at China's Great Hall of the People Wednesday during the opening of the Chinese Parliament, the nation's Premier Wen Jiabao said that testing and safety requirements for the country's exports of food and other consumer goods will be in line with international standards, according to CBC News. China plans to create or reconfigure 7,700 safety standards while also strengthening penalties for companies that break the rules.
Maryland House Passes Lead Bill. February 29, 2008 – A bill banning the manufacture, import, distribution and sale of toys and other products for children is headed to the Maryland Senate for approval after passage in the House of Delegates today. If passed, the legislation will go into effect July 1, prompting the hire of monitors to check toys sold in the state, and punishing industry parties whose products contain more than 600 parts per million of lead, according to the Washington Post.
CPSC Targets Imports. February 28, 2008 – Chairman Nancy Nord of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission will announce the organization's new Import Surveillance sector and discuss its increased presence at U.S. ports during a press conference on Wednesday, March 5, in Long Beach, Calif., according to a press release.
Maryland Considers Lead Legislation. February 27, 2008 – Maryland's House of Delegates is close to approving a bill that would penalize companies selling lead-tainted toys with a $10,000 fine and would hire two inspectors to monitor toys entering the state, the Associated Press reported.
House Passes Toy Safety Legislation. February 20, 2008 – House Bill 2647, the Children's Safe Products Act, passed unanimously by the House committee, and is awaiting review by the Senate. The bill addresses concerns over the safety of children's products, and, specifically, it limits the level of hazardous materials allowed in toys: lead and cadmium levels in toys must be 40 parts per million or less, while phthalate levels in toys must be 100 parts per million or less. These chemicals have been linked to mental and physical developmental defects in research animals and humans. The bill also outes clear penalties for non-compliance.
ANSI to Publish Toy Safety Assurance Program for Public Review. February 20, 2008 – The proposed plan, first presented to the TIA Board of Directors on Feb. 16, 2008, defines the safety responsibilities of toy manufacturers and offers ways to monitor adherence to these responsibilities. The plan is set for open public review and comment from Feb. 22 until Mar. 22, 2008, and can be accessed beginning Feb. 22 on the official ANSI website, TIA announced in a press release.
Toy Industry Gets a Time Out. February 19, 2008 – In an annual address at Toy Fair, Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Acting Chairwoman Nancy Nord chided the toy industry for not effectively ensuring that its products met safety standards. Nord demanded the industry take action and stated that the CPSC is adding staff and working more closely with customs officials, reported the Associated Press.
Retail Giants Tighten Standards. February 18, 2008 – Effective on items shipped on or after Mar. 1, 2008, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Toys "R" Us Inc. will impose stricter standards on the level of lead allowed on the surface paint of toys shipped to their stores. Current federal standards mandate that lead levels be no more than 600 parts per million; Wal-Mart and Toys "R" Us are demanding no more than 90 parts per million. In addition, both retailers are also reducing the levels of PVC and phthalate allowed in items entering their stores, reported the Associated Press.
Toy Safety Assurance Program Proposal to be Revealed. February 15, 2008 – On Saturday, Feb. 16, the first day of Toy Fair, the TIA board of directors will review a proposal created to strengthen and clarify toy industry standards. The program addresses concerns about procedures and audit mechanisms for analyzing design safety, controlling the manufacturing process and testing products in-plant, TIA announced in a press release.
Dolls Suffered, Action Figures Ruled in '07. February 13, 2008 – Recalls and a weak economy contributed to a decrease in U.S. toy sales in 2007. The industry saw a 2 percent decline overall, dropping from $22.6 billion for the previous year to $22.1 billion. The hardest hit category was dolls, which fell 8 percent, followed by infant and preschool and outdoor and sports categories, which both dropped 5 percent, according to Reuters. The NPD Group reported that sales of action figures grew 8 percent last year, however, and properties such as Walt Disney's Hannah Montana, Ganz's Webkinz, Spider-Man and Transformers from Hasbro, and Air Hogs benefited as well.
China's Prices Rise for Hasbro. February 12, 2008 – Hasbro Inc. anticipates Chinese-made products will cost 14 to 15 percent more this year owing to more safety measures as well as increases in currency and labor costs, Reuters reported.
Baby Bottles Host Dangerous Chemical. February 7, 2008 – A recent study revealed that the toxic chemical bisphenol A, a synthetic sex hormone found to have adverse effects on animals at low exposures, leaches from new plastic bottles when heated. Environmental health groups in the United States and Canada are calling on manufacturers to phase out the chemical immediately, according to a press release.
China's Quality Crunch Opens Up Growth. February 5, 2008 – Despite increased quality controls and factories having to raise prices by 10 to 15 percent, China exported $11.4 billion worth of toys from January to November 2007, beating the same timeframe in 2006 by 25 percent. The Hong Kong Trade Development Council has recommended that toymakers focus on the domestic market as well as export opportunity, since more families are seeking quality-made toys, according to China View.
Despite Recalls, Mattel Posts Solid Year. January 31, 2008 – Mattel Inc. released its 2007 financial results today, revealing that the toymaker's net income for last year reached $600 million, surpassing 2006 by more than $7 million. Roughly 15 percent of Mattel's operating income for the year went to recall-related expenses. Although gross sales were slightly down in the United States, they grew by 17 percent internationally. Gross sales of the Fisher-Price brand increased 19 percent worldwide. The company also gained via previous-year tax benefits during the fourth quarter, according to a press release.
Connecticut Weighs Lead Ban. January 31, 2008 – Fueled by activists' concern over the safety of children's products, Connecticut lawmakers assembled Wednesday to put forth a bill to ban lead in toys (limiting it to 40 parts per million) and bar the use of phthalates, bisphenol A and other compounds often considered dangerous, the Hartford Courant reported.
British Toy Fair Talks Safety. January 31, 2008 – Discussion of toy safety is a hot topic at this year's Toy Fair in London, where show personnel already awarded the winner of 2008's Playsafe competition, which is created to honor designers of safe products, according to BBC News.
Blood Pressures Rise Over Mattel. January 30, 2008 – U.S. Congressmen sent CEO Robert Eckert of Mattel Inc. a letter Tuesday expressing dismay at the company's decision not to announce a nationwide recall of a Fisher-Price toy blood-pressure cuff discovered in November to have high levels of lead in its plastic. Although the toy was recalled in Illinois where lead limits are stricter, national law applies the 600 parts per million rule to paint, not plastic, according to the New York Times.
Report Measures Mattel Factories. January 28, 2008 – A report released today by the International Center for Corporate Accountability outlines results of a voluntary audit of seven manufacturing grounds run by Mattel Inc., finding that the facilities rate well in such areas as communication with management, protection from harassment, dormitory safety and food options. Areas for improvement include the granting of workers' annual leave, payment of wages and environmental considerations, according to a press release.
EU Revises Safety Standards. January 25, 2008 – The European Union today announced plans to rework toy safety standards, banning carcinogens and reducing allowable amounts of lead and other hazardous chemicals. The proposed changes would also include make the CE mark more prominent on toys, ban the packaging of toys as free gifts with foods such as cereal, and impose tougher penalties on manufacturers and importers who do not meet standards. Consumer group BEUC is calling for even tighter rules, though companies have already expressed that the new legislation will be challenging, Reuters reported.
Jammin' Jenna Changes Shoes. January 23, 2008 – Ty Inc. announced Tuesday that it removed its Ty Girlz Jammin' Jenna doll from retail shelves in Illinois during the first week of January, and furthermore, has replaced the dolls with a version sporting cloth shoes — not vinyl, which was found to have high levels of lead, the Chicago Tribune reported. See "Illinois Battles Ty" below.
RC2 Settles for $30 Million. January 23, 2008 – In Illinois' Cook County Circuit Court Tuesday, RC2 Brands agreed to a $30 million settlement on a nationwide lawsuit concerning leaded paint that led to a massive recall of the company's popular Thomas the Tank Engine toys last year, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. In addition to RC2's implementation of new quality controls, the company will pay five plaintiffs and an attorneys' fee of $2 million, and will give $100,000 to a nonprofit organization. The thousands of families represented by the suit, which is expected to be finalized in May, can get product refunds or replacements.
Illinois Battles Ty. January 22, 2008 – The state of Illinois is considering a lawsuit against Ty Inc. for the company's refusal to remove its Ty Girlz Jammin' Jenna doll from retail shelves. The doll's red shoes were found to contain lead levels in excess of 600 ppm in a report issued by the Chicago Tribune that targeted 21 products late last year, the Tribune reported.
Wal-Mart Ends Sale of Dora Lamp. January 22, 2008 – After seeing a Dora the Explorer lamp on the list of the 10 most dangerous toys released last fall by World Against Toys Causing Harm, a 71-year-old man from Des Ark, Ark., pulled the product from a Wal-Mart shelf and destroyed it outside the store in November. Wal-Mart has said it will no longer sell the seasonal item, and the man is facing a misdemeanor shoplifting charge, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported.
Taiwanese Bureau Enforces Strict Toy Safety. January 21, 2008 – Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs' Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection has pledged to screen all imported toys for half a year to ensure that Taiwan is free from dangerous toys made in China, the Taipei Times reported.
Recalled Bindeez Still Advertised in UK. January 18, 2008 – The British Medical Journal has reported that the Bindeez toy beads that were recalled last fall due to a chemical that morphs into the "date rape" drug when ingested are still for sale online in the UK, according to ScienceDaily.
EU Considers Ban of Lead-Tainted Toys. January 17, 2008 – As part of a proposal slated for release next week, the European Union is looking at reducing the acceptable limits of lead paint and carcinogens in toys, as well as banning the inclusion of toy gifts in cereal and other foods, Reuters reported.
China Still at Risk for Safety Problems. January 16, 2008 – Vice Premier Wu Yi of China said Wednesday that despite the government's quality-control efforts over the past several months, the country is still at risk of rebounding in terms of product safety, due to an underdeveloped legal system, small factories that are often overlooked, and high regulatory costs, Reuters reported.
China's Domestic Toys are 87.5% Safe. January 16, 2008 – Fifteen of 120 groups of toys sold in China's domestic market failed to meet 11-point safety tests conducted by the Chinese government, leaving 87.5 percent that satisfy current quality requirements, China View reported.
China Pulls 600+ Export Licenses. January 14, 2008 – Following inspection of more than 3,000 Chinese toy manufacturers, the State Administration for Quality Supervision and Inspection and Quarantine has revoked over 600 export licenses in order to help maintain quality, China View reported.
Hasbro Leader Pushes for Global Standards. January 11, 2008 – Chairman Alan Hassenfeld of Hasbro Inc. is encouraging the adoption of worldwide safety standards for toys that would be mandatory for all companies. He also said that companies, not countries, are responsible for producing safe toys, MarketWatch reported.
Manufacturers Commit to Safer "Made in China." January 10, 2008 – At the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair, exhibitors and toy industry representatives expressed a plan to restore trust in toy safety — specifically the safety of products made in China — by enforcing stricter quality controls and safety checks, the New York Times reported.
CPSC Bolsters Port Inspections. January 7, 2008 – Supported by an additional $20 million from Congress, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission plans to position full-time staff and increase inspection of toys and other consumer goods in Seattle and at other prominent U.S. ports, the Associated Press reported.
Safe Chinese Toys Not So Cheap. January 7, 2008 – It's cheap to make toys in China, but it may not be as cost-effective anymore, since added safety checks are extending production and could hike prices by 10 percent in 2008. Hong Kong's The Toy Company Ltd. estimates quality control expenses at $1 million this year, $700,000 more than in years past, the Associated Press reported.
The CPSC's "Bob" Retires. January 6, 2008 – Robert Hundemer, who for months has satirically been known in the media as "Bob," the U.S. government's only full-time toy tester, retired from the Consumer Product Safety Commission last week after a quarter-decade of employment there, the Washington Post reported.
Michigan Passes Lead Law. January 4, 2008 – Under state law, Michigan can now fine companies up to $50,000 for selling toys, children's jewelry or other children's products that contain in excess of 600 ppm of lead, according to Mlive.com.
Bahrain Tackles Toy Safety. January 1, 2008 – Bahrain is taking random toy samples from retail shelves and putting them through three American and five European tests in order to ensure product safety within the country. The Ministry of Industry and Commerce is currently considering 25 new criteria regarding toy safety, according to Gulf Daily News.
Obama Calls for (then Recalls) Ban on Toys From China. December 24, 2007 – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama told New Hampshire voters on Wednesday that he would ban the import of toys from China. On Sunday, he retreated from that hardline position, and qualified his remarks and "reiterated his longstanding call for barring toys with more than a trace amount of lead," according to Reuters. The Senator has been working since 2005 on legislation requiring the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ban any children's product containing lead.
Recalls Bring Toy Stocks Down. December 21, 2007 – At the market's close Thursday, stocks for RC2 Corp., Mattel, Hasbro and Jakks Pacific had respectively fallen more than 30 percent, almost 20 percent, 16.3 percent and 10.5 percent. An MSN-Zogpy poll revealed that because of the recalls, 25 percent of U.S. shoppers planned to not spend as much on toys this holiday season, according to Reuters.
House Passes H.R. 4040 Bill. December 19, 2007 – The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Consumer Product Safety Modernization Act with a roll call vote of 407 ayes on Wednesday, according to GovTrack. Chairman Nancy Nord of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission applauded the approval of this legislation, which gives the CPSC additional funding and resources to tackle issues of product safety.
Japan Recalls Chinese Toys. December 19, 2007 – A Japanese company has recalled 230,000 toys manufactured in China because many of them contain high levels of lead. In addition, 16 different items bear phony safety labels, the AFP reported.
NY Assemblyman Proposes Recall-Sales Law. December 18, 2007 – Assemb. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn) introduced a measure in the New York state legislature Monday that would penalize retailers and distributors selling recalled toys by fining them up to $5,000 and ordering up to a year in prison, Newsday reported.
Canada Considers Toy Safety Legislation. December 17, 2007 – Canada is looking at presenting legislation that will allow the government to order recalls of unsafe toys and hold importers responsible for the safety of their products, Bloomberg reported.
Europe Looks Into Fake Toys. December 14, 2007 – United Nations researchers reported Friday that 10 percent of the toys sold in Europe may, in fact, be fake, supported by counterfeiting operations led by key criminal organizations, according to the Guardian Unlimited. Street markets, catalogs and the Internet are likely places one might unknowingly purchase counterfeit goods.
Hasbro Signs Toy Safety Lobbyist. December 13, 2007 – Hasbro Inc. has hired an individual from the Duberstein Group Inc. to lobby the U.S. government in regard to matters of toy safety, the Associated Press reported.
U.S. and China Talk Trade. December 13, 2007 – The two-day China-U.S. Strategic Economic Dialogue ended Thursday after discussions on how to handle China's huge trade surplus, which hit $25.9 billion in October, an increase of 9.1 percent. Despite recalls, shipments of toys, games and electronics have been in high demand. Some U.S. legislators are blaming what they consider unfair trade, but China's Vice Premier Wu Yi rnerned that penalizing China could have negative effects, the Associated Press reported.
NRF Seeks Change to Proposed Bill. December 13, 2007 – The National Retail Federation largely supports the provisions of H.R. 4040 (the Consumer Product Safety Modernization Act), which is scheduled for a vote before the House Energy and Commerce Committee today, but believes the proposed 180-day window to adopt new standards set forth in the bill is impractical, as retailers are already ordering products for fall 2008, a press release announced. Click here for more on pending legislation.
Toys "R" Us CEO Talks Up Toys and Safety. December 13, 2007 – In an interview with the Associated Press, CEO Gerald L. Storch of Toys "R" Us expressed his projection that the last week of holiday shopping will be really big, mentioned that next year will be the year for eco-friendly toys, and said that Toys "R" Us is pushing for the passage of new legislation regarding toy safety at least by early next year.
Vermont Sues Ganz for Leaded Jewelry. December 12, 2007 – The state of Vermont filed suit against Ganz Inc. on Wednesday, claiming that the importer is selling jewelry and other items that contain up to 700 times the maximum amount of lead permitted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Ganz agreed to stop retailing items with excessive levels of lead and said the company will pick up products from stores for credit or refund, WCAX News reported.
Retail Giants Kick PVC Out. December 12, 2007 – Sears and Kmart have announced plans to cut and phase out items containing PVC plastic in response to a national campaign headed by the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, which says that polyvinyl chloride is toxic and potentially harmful to those who come into contact with it. Wal-Mart and Target have already vowed to decrease and phase out such products, according to a press release.
New York Governor Wants Recall Laws. December 11, 2007 – Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York is calling for state legislation to penalize companies selling recalled items after a study of 2,800 locations revealed that toys containing high levels of lead can still be found on store shelves, 13WHAM reported.
Leaded Christmas Lights Pose Hazard for Children. December 10, 2007 – Not only must parents be cautious of lead-tainted toys this holiday season; they also need to be careful with decorative holiday lights. The insulation in the electrical wiring contains lead, sometimes in amounts as high as 137.2 micrograms, far exceeding the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's advised limit of 15 micrograms for children, CNN reported.
Ecology Center Reports Lead in Toys. December 6, 2007 – Michigan-based nonprofit The Ecology Center released test results of 1,200 toys on its new website, HealthyToys.org, Wednesday, causing some political activists to pull for more state regulation of children's products. Seventeen percent of the items tested with an x-ray fluorescence handheld analyzer were found to contain lead levels in excess of the federal limit, Newsday reported.
Florida Commission to Check Stores for Recalled Items. December 4, 2007 – This month, the Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commission plans to search at least 10 stores in the state to ensure that toys on this year's recall lists are not for sale, the South Florida Business Journal reported.
Hasbro Advertises Lead-Free Record. December 3, 2007 – Hasbro will begin running newspaper ads Wednesday to remind consumers that its toys, under such brands as Monopoly, My Little Pony and Mr. Potato Head, have not suffered recalls related to lead. The ad is designed by Dallas-based advertising agency Uproar, reported the Dallas Morning News.
Toy Drives Labor Hard for Safety. December 3, 2007 – The Salvation Army, Toys for Tots and other organizers of holiday toy drives are working diligently to ensure the safety of donations, checking recall lists and tossing out lead-tainted toys. Some have called in extra volunteers, and more than 100 Salvation Army stores are refusing donations for the time being since they don't have the resources to check all the toys, USA Today reported.
Illinois Publishes Guide to Dangerous Toys. December 1, 2007 – The Illinois attorney general's office has released a "2007 Safe Shopping Guide" featuring colorful product photos of about 800 recalled items. It is printed in English, Polish and Spanish, and is available to the public for $5, according to the Chicago Tribune. For information on TDmonthly's 2007 Specialty Toys Report, which profiles more than 300 toys and games and includes TDmonthly award winners, click here.
Aqua Dots Manufacturer Apologizes. November 28, 2007 – Jssy Ltd., the Hong Kong company that manufactured Aqua Dots, which were recalled this month for containing a chemical that metabolizes into the date-rape drug when ingested, issued an apology Wednesday for hurting the reputation of "Made in China," CNNMoney reported.
Chinese Exports Are Back Up. November 28, 2007 – Although the value of Chinese toy exports from southern China's Guangdong Province declined in September following massive recalls, it came back up in October, bringing an increase of 27.6 percent compared to last year, China Daily reported.
Discounted Aqua Dots Not For Sale. November 26, 2007 – Despite Black Friday and weekend fliers advertising the recalled Aqua Dots at discounted prices, Toys "R" Us and Target both confirmed that the dangerous bead toy is not for sale in their stores. Advertisements were already complete or in production when the Nov. 7 recall was announced, reported the Associated Press.
Groups Advise Consumer Awareness When Toy Shopping. November 20, 2007 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has released a two-page document outlining general safety risks of toys, such as those that contain small magnets or are projectile and could injure the eye. The release also advised parents to read warning labels and sign up to receive notification of recalls by email. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group cautioned that dangerous products may still be on store shelves, according to the Associated Press.
California Lawsuit Hits Mattel and Others. November 19, 2007 – Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown of California and Los Angeles City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo are suing Mattel Inc., Toys "R" Us, "RC2 Corp." and 17 other firms for producing or selling items with levels of lead that are prohibited by law. The lawsuit will be filed under California's Proposition 65, which could permit the state to collect civil penalties of up to $2,500 for each toxic product, reported the Los Angeles Times. It aims to make both manufacturers and retailers implement inspection procedures that guarantee products are safe.
Mass Price Cuts Continue, But Specialty Sales Smile. November 16, 2007 (AP) – Wal-Mart, Toys "R" Us and KB Toys fought for consumers' attention the first weekend of November with deep price cuts and toy specials that normally wouldn't appear until Thanksgiving, CNNMoney reported. Despite low sales projections for the holidays, however, some small stores are benefiting from the recall scare with sales of eco-friendly and naturally-stained items, even with a higher price tag.
Consumer Organization Targets Cadmium. November 15, 2007 – Founder Judy Braiman of Empire State Consumer Association said 2007 "has been the worst year for toy safety," according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. The organization recently found that a "Sassy Chic" charm bracelet distributed by Greenbrier International Inc. and sold at Dollar Tree stores contains high levels of cadmium, which may pose serious health hazards including kidney failure.
California Mother Finds Excessive Lead at Home. November 14, 2007 – Meredith Stacy, a mother in Santa Clarita, Calif., who has been home-testing items for lead for 10 years, recently discovered high levels of lead in vinyl lunchboxes, backpacks and other products. One "High School Musical" backpack contained more than 21 times the legal amount of lead in paint, confirmed Oakland's Center for Environmental Health, but the items have not been recalled, according to the Los Angeles Times.
W.A.T.C.H. Posts List of "10 Worst Toys." November 13, 2007 – World Against Toys Causing Harm Inc. has released its 2007 list of the "10 Worst Toys," selected based on potential harm to children. The list includes the following products: Go Diego Go Animal Rescue Boat from Fisher-Price Inc., Sticky Stones from GeoCentral, Jack Sparrow's Spinning Dagger from Zizzle, Dora the Explorer Lamp from Funhouse, Sassy Pet Saks Lil "Giddy Up" Horse from Douglas, Spider-Man 3 New Goblin Sword from Hasbro, Hip Hoppa from Spin Master Ltd. and Vivid Imaginations Ltd., B'loonies Party Pack from Ja-Ru Inc., My Little Baby Born from Entertainment Inc. and Zapf Creations AG, and Rubber Band Shooter from Simple Toys LLC.
Chinese Factory Works Despite Recall. November 12, 2007 – Southern China's Wanqi Product Factory was still making toys over the weekend, despite the recall of toy beads it produced under the Aqua Dots and Bindeez brand names and a government-ordered ban on exports from the factory, AFP reported.
China Halts Aqua Dots Exports. November 9, 2007 – Following recalls of Aqua Dots in the United States, Australia (where the toy is known as "Bindeez") and Spain, China has stopped all exports of the bead kits that have been found to contain the chemical 1,4 butanediol, which becomes toxic when ingested and has sent at least five children to the hospital, according to Reuters.
Global Toy Standards Under Consideration. November 8, 2007 – Representatives from the United States and the European Union will meet Friday in Washington to discuss having a worldwide safety standard for toys, including the possible implementation of a global mark of safety, according to Reuters.
Canada Investigates Toy Recall. November 8, 2007 – Health Canada is investigating the massive recall of distributor Spin Master's Aqua Dots, now known to contain a chemical that becomes a dangerous hallucinogenic drug when ingested. In September, Aqua Dots appeared on Toys "R" Us' list of the top-15 toys for the holidays. Now, the retailer giant, along with Sears Canada, Mastermind Toys and the Hudson's Bay Company, has pulled the item from store shelves. Recalls have also taken place in the U.K. and Australia, where the product is known as Bindeez, reported CanWest News Service.
Toddler Suffers Poisoning from Toy Beads. November 6, 2007 – In Queensland, Australia, a toddler is undergoing hospital treatment after swallowing Bindeez craft beads, which contain a chemical that, when ingested, mirrors effects of the illegal drug GHB, according to ABC News. Although there hasn't been an official recall, retailers have been directed to remove the product from store shelves, and parents are advised to keep them out of children's reach.
Mattel Shares May Spring Back. November 4, 2007 (Reuters) – A Barron's report suggests that Mattel's shares may make a comeback over the next year, rebounding by as much as 50 percent, as investors and consumers begin to trust the company once again.
China Blocks Toy Exports. November 1, 2007 – The export licenses of more than 750 toy makers have been barred in China, regulators said, due to issues with quality control. The New York Times also reported that 690 toy factories in the country's southern region have been asked to make improvements or undergo renovation.
Consumer Group Pinpoints Lead-Tainted Toys. October 29, 2007 – Consumers Union has reported finding high levels of lead in select toys and other products not included on recall lists, based on testing of items taken from homes and retail stores, Reuters reported. The organization is recommending that consumers stop using the affected items, which include Elmer's Glue Stick caps and a toy blood-pressure cuff by Fisher-Price.
Firms to Face UK Prosecution for Toxic Toys. October 26, 2007 (Press Association) – Following a unanimous vote of the European Parliament, companies that import unsafe toys into the United Kingdom will be held legally liable, according to Guardian Unlimited.
Leaded Jewelry Detected in New York. October 18, 2007 – Lead-related toy recalls prompted Westchester county in New York to test dollar-store jewelry for lead, finding that 10 of 53 products contained amounts exceeding the state limit, according to Newsday.
Orders for Chinese Toys Still Strong. October 17, 2007 (Reuters) – Even with the astounding number of recalls in recent months and consumer fears over product safety going into the holidays, orders for toys made in China are increasing, mandating overtime for many factory workers, according to Li Changjiang, in charge of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine in China.
MEGA Brands Fights Test Results. October 16, 2007 – MEGA Brands is announcing at a press conference Tuesday that the company is pursuing an injunction against consumer safety publication Protégez-Vous, which the company says published faulty test results after using the wrong test on a MEGA Brands item, according to a press release.
California Says “No” to Phthalates. October 15, 2007 (Reuters) – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California signed a bill Sunday prohibiting the use of phthalates in products for children younger than 3. The chemical, frequently used in the molding process of toys and other plastic items, has been tied to reproductive defects and cancer. For information on the phthalate debate, see Plastic Death: Truth, or Scare? and PVC Toy Scare: Manufacturing Danger. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that other states, and possibly Congress as well, will follow California's lead in banning phthalates if supporters of the law – which takes effect Jan. 1, 2009 – have their way.
Mattel's Profit Falls. October 15, 2007 – Mattel Inc.'s net income for the third quarter has fallen 1 percent from last year, to $236.8 million, due in part to the $40 million costs incurred with the company's toy recalls. Quarterly gross sales increased by 6 percent overall, but sales of Barbie in the United States declined by 19 percent, MarketWatch reported.
Now's the Time for "Made in the USA." October 12, 2007 (AP) – Small toy companies such as Maple Landmark, Arrowcopter Inc. and Lauri Toys — all of which manufacture in the United States — have seen a surge of orders in the last few months, making it challenging to keep up with demand. But experts say the insistence for products made in the USA isn't likely to last past the recalls, with children's preferences driving holiday sales and overseas manufacturing accounting for such a large percentage of the U.S. toy market, according to a Yahoo! News article.
Is Curious George Leaded? October 11, 2007 – The Center for Environmental Health, based in Oakland, Calif., issued a complaint to Marvel Entertainment Inc. about the Curious George Birthday doll the company markets, saying the toy contains highly lead-tainted paint and plastic parts, the Los Angeles Times reported. Marvel said it has stopped shipments of the doll and will test product from its Chinese supplier, following up with a voluntary recall if appropriate.
Mattel Faces Lawsuit from Pension Fund. October 11, 2007 – Sterling Heights Police and Fire Retirement System of Michigan filed a suit Wednesday against Mattel, claiming that the company was late in reporting the toys included in its three summer recalls and seeking compensation for affected shareholders, according to The New York Times.
Toy Bills Seek Lead Ban. October 3, 2007 (Reuters) – Democrats in both the House and Senate, including Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, introduced bills Wednesday that would basically prohibit the inclusion of lead in toys and other products for children up to 6 years old, according to a New York Times article.
RC2’s Generosity Backfires. October 3, 2007 (AP) – RC2 Corp.’s recall of 200,000 Thomas & Friends items in late September included 2,000 lead-tainted products the company had sent as “free gifts” to customers in hopes of earning back their loyalty after a recall of 1.5 million toys in June, the Los Angeles Times reported.
eBay Discourages Recall Sales. October 3, 2007 (AP) – In efforts to eliminate online sales of recalled toys from companies such as Mattel and RC2, eBay is providing links to recall lists and notifying sellers posting recalled items that they could lose their earnings and be removed from the website, according to an article in USA Today.
Holiday Clouds Lined With Silver, Not Lead. October 1, 2007 – Despite numerous toy recalls and fears about children's products tainted with lead, retailers are reporting that sales have improved, according to Yahoo! Finance. Consumers may be confused, but they're still buying, albeit with a bit more caution.
Wal-Mart Pushes Xmas Early. October 1, 2007 – Wal-Mart started the holidays in September by slashing prices on popular mass-market toys such as Fisher-Price's Kid Tough Digital Camera, The New York Times reported. The retail giant hopes to lure customers into their stores despite economic uncertainties and anxiety over the recent toy recalls. Click here to read about Wal-Mart's increased toy testing and other news.
China Works On Product Safety. October 1, 2007 – Wu Yi, vice premier of a special 4-month panel instituted in August to oversee product quality and food safety in China, said that improvements had been made in quality control but there was still work to do. According to The New York Times, she cited positive actions taken by Guangdong and Jiangsu provinces, where officials have increased supervision of exported toys. Nevertheless, she urged leaders across the country to make guidance and examination of all products a priority.
Lead Testers Profit. September 29, 2007 – As toy recalls from Mattel, Walt Disney and other manufacturers have released a wave of anxiety throughout the toy industry and the general public, companies that test for lead and other dangerous substances are gearing up for a boon, reported The New York Times. Toy makers have admitted that they had not been testing their products assiduously or frequently enough, which has created a new niche market for testing companies that had previously focused on other industries.
RC2 Shares Make a Comeback. September 27, 2007 (Dow Jones) – Following RC2 Corp.’s lead-based toy recalls this week, the company’s shares reached $27.88 in afternoon trading on Thursday, logging an increase of 5.2 percent, CNNMoney reported. Analyst Sean McGowan with Wedbush Morgan said he believes this is the last of the company’s problems with lead-tainted toys. For updated news on toy recalls and more, click here.
Toy Testers Go the Extra Mile. September 25, 2007 (AP) – Employees at Specialized Technology Resources Inc. in Connecticut are devoting even their weekends to testing toys — scraping paint, checking plush stuffing for cleanliness, dropping items to check durability, and testing fire resistance — as an increasing number of manufacturers submit products for testing and retesting in an effort to reassure holiday shoppers, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Mattel Gives China Apology. September 21, 2007 (Reuters) – Thomas Debrowski, executive vice president of worldwide operations for Mattel, apologized to China for its toy recalls in a meeting with Li Changjiang, China’s product safety chief, on Friday, according to USA Today. He said the bulk of the products were recalled due to design flaws — not error by Chinese manufacturers. Mattel also released a statement saying that more toys than necessary were recalled due to safety concerns over lead paint. The New York Times reported that 17.4 million of the 20 million recalled toys by Mattel were magnetic toys. If a child swallows more than one magnet, they "can attract one another and cause intestinal perforation or blockage, which can be fatal," the CPSC reported back in March 2006. To read about China's complaints regarding defective design, click here.
CPSC Solicits Congressional Help. September 20, 2007 (AP) – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission asked Congress to enlarge its budget at a hearing on Wednesday, pointing to understaffing and an outdated laboratory that make it difficult for the regulating authority to ensure product safety, according to The New York Times.
EU Takes Close Look at Mattel. September 20, 2007 (Dow Jones) – The European Commission is pleased with Mattel’s new three-phase safety plans and random supplier inspections, but the European Union is also prepared to keep an eye on enforcement of product safety, CNNMoney reported.
Mattel’s Lead Levels Way Too High. September 18, 2007 – Some of the 1.5 million Mattel toys recalled within the last two months contained paint with 180 times the amount of lead permitted under law — up to as much as 110,000 parts per million, compared to the federally acceptable 600 parts per million, USA Today reported.
European Toy Makers Strengthened by Label. September 18, 2007 – Companies such as Playmobil, LEGO and Ravensburger manufacture the bulk of their toy products in Europe, a selling point likely to benefit them now in the face of consumer fear over Chinese-made imports, according to The New York Times.
Europe Questions Safety Regulations. September 18, 2007 – The European Commission is questioning toy makers’ assertions that the current system controlling consumer product safety, which leaves testing and notification of defective products up to manufacturers, is sufficient. The EU is looking at requiring companies to outsource toy testing to independent labs, The New York Times reported.
Crocs Pose Danger. September 17, 2007 (AP) – There have been reports in Japan, Singapore and the United States of children getting their toes stuck, and sometimes badly injured, on escalators while wearing Crocs or similar soft-soled, flexible shoes.
2008 to Bring Pricier Toys. September 13, 2007 (AP) – Once the holiday season passes, American consumers can anticipate toy prices to swell by up to 10 percent in order to cover costs incurred by manufacturers and retailers due to heightened awareness about toy safety. Other Chinese imports, such as fish and clothing, may also be affected by increased prices.
Senate Questions Toy Safety. September 13, 2007 – At a Senate subcommittee hearing Wednesday, CEO Robert A. Eckert of Mattel Inc. promised immediate action to prevent future incidences of lead-tainted toys, The New York Times reported. But senators said safety propositions put forth by Eckert and others are not enough; they further proposed bigger fines for failure to report unsafe products and legislative action against stores selling recalled items. Senators also said the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission needs to be more aggressive in enforcing safety regulations. President Carter Keithley of Toy Industry Association also addressed the subcommittee regarding toy safety.
Mattel Isolates Production. September 12, 2007 (MarketWatch) – In addition to boosting its testing for lead paint in toys, Mattel Inc. is mandating that suppliers separate production for its company and don’t allow subcontractors to move any part of a project to other sites.
China Agrees to Prohibit Lead Paint in Toys. September 12, 2007 (AP) – China pledged Tuesday at a consumer product safety meeting to step up export inspections and ban lead paint in toys headed for the United States. U.S. and Chinese attendees agreed to have monthly meetings regarding recalls and product safety.
Brazil Blocks Mattel. September 11, 2007 (AP) – Brazil announced Tuesday that it is prohibiting imports from Mattel until the government determines whether the toy company meets local guidelines for safety, based on evaluation by consumer product safety group Inmetro. Mattel’s August recalls affected 850,000 toy units in Brazil.
Disney to Check Toys for Lead. September 10, 2007 – The Walt Disney Company has announced plans to test its character toys, including some currently in stores, for lead paint, according to The New York Times. Testing has conventionally been the sole responsibility of the manufacturer, but companies such as Disney and even Toys “R” Us are now seeing the need to conduct their own tests.
Mattel to Face Recall Charge.
Americans Fault U.S. for China Goods. August 30, 2007 (AP) – An Associated Press-Ipsos survey of 1,005 adults revealed that Americans believe the United States shares blame for unsafe consumer goods from China. Sixty-four percent said Chinese firms should bear the most responsibility, but 84 percent said these firms and U.S. companies are at fault. Seventy-nine percent and 75 percent, respectively, said the Chinese and U.S. governments hold some responsibility, and 71 percent said U.S. consumers who demand low-cost products are also to blame.
China Faults Toy Design. August 27, 2007 (Reuters) – Li Changjiang, head of the General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine in China, agreed that Chinese manufacturers should take blame for recently recalled toys, but also placed responsibility on U.S. designers and importers because of “seriously defective” design. To read about Mattel's apology to China, click here.
Wal-Mart Increases Toy Tests. August 24, 2007 (AP) – In addition to asking manufacturers to resubmit documents reporting test results for toys on shelves or en-route to Wal-Mart stores, the company has also said it is testing 25 to 50 percent more toys at independent labs.
Chinese Association Blames U.S. for Toy Recalls. August 22, 2007 (AP) – Mattel Inc. and Chinese manufacturers share the responsibility for toy recalls this summer, according to Li Zhuoming, executive vice chairman of the Guangdong Provincial Toy Industry Association. If companies demand low production prices, Zhuoming warned, they run the risk of receiving inferior products.
Consumers Dump Recall Items on Poor. August 21, 2007 – According to USA Today, consumers are "donating" recently recalled toys to the Salvation Army, Goodwill and other organizations. The charities are forced to vigilantly review recall lists, remove tainted merchandise and request that individuals not donate recalled items. Owner Crystal Earley of PattyCakes Children's Consignment Shop in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., told TDmonthly her store has received five of the recently recalled Mattel items. “I usually call the person that brings in the item and ask if they want to pick it up or want us to dispose of it,” she said.
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