Friday, August 28, 2009

The government's unfair treatment - CPSIA

I hadn't planned on blogging again until I announced my VBT schedule, not the full schedule already posted, but my posts about Kathy Stemke. However, something happened that caused my ire to rise.

I posted about the Consumer Product Safety Inspection Act of 2008 several times:
Will we lose a treasure of children's lit?
CPSIA and libraries - breaking the law?
What? The CPSC didn't say what it said? Libraries are not criminals?
The fight against the CPSIA continues

Those listed above are just a few of the many posts about the CPSIA, which became law as a result of Mattel importing toys from China with heavy lead content in their paint, causing illness and death.

Small companies are folding as a result, because the massive law requires third party testing, expensive and prohibitive testing.

Oh, but wait, one major company, the one that caused all the trouble, gets a waiver. The law doesn't apply to them. They don't have to have their products, whether imported or made in the U.S., tested by a third party. That's right, Mattel was granted a waiver.

Quoted from Mattel gets a CPSIA waiver(also found on News

After consumers discovered an influx of lead-tainted toys imported by Mattel and other companies, Congress acted to strengthen protections through the Consumer Protection Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). The legislation created almost impossible hurdles for small manufacturers and resellers for testing products, while earlier this month the CPSC announced it would send inspectors fanning out across the USA to enforce the laws in thrift shops. Now one of the companies that created the problem in the first place has gotten a waiver from the CPSIA’s requirements for third-party testing:

Toy-makers, clothing manufacturers and other companies selling products for young children are submitting samples to independent laboratories for safety tests. But the nation’s largest toy maker, Mattel, isn’t being required to do the same.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission recently, and quietly, granted Mattel’s request to use its own labs for testing that is required under a law Congress passed last summer in the wake of a rash of recalls of toys contaminated by lead. Six of those toys were produced by Mattel Inc., and its subsidiary Fisher-Price. …

Mattel is getting a competitive advantage, Green said, because smaller companies must pay independent labs to do the tests. Testing costs can run from several hundred dollars to many thousands, depending on the test and the toy or product.

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

Oh, yes, our government is so fair and helps small businesses and individuals -- sure, sure, and I have some beach front property on the outskirts of Oklahoma City, and I don't mean the Great Salt Plains.

Ish! Big guys get bailouts and special considerations, but the rest of us, individuals and small business, get to pay for everything and get nothing but that large knife in the back.

Let's let everyone we can know how angry we are.



Katie Hines said...

This is outrageous, Vivian. Simply outrageous.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

The CEO's at Mattel evidently know the right people. We can hope there's enough protest that they'll finally realize how stupid this act is. (My words and I'm sticking to them.)


Holly Jahangiri said...

Please read this. I suggest we vote with our pocketbooks. The kids will understand. In fact, once we'd discussed the underlying issues, my son offered to pile up all his Hot Wheels and burn them. But he thought better of it, "Burning them might not be a good idea, though. It could release a cloud of toxic, lead-filled gas..."

Smart kid.

Other Lisa said...

Oh for eff's sake - MATTEL gets a waiver and individual craftspeople do not?

I thought I was beyond cynicism but I still manage to be surprised.

Holly Jahangiri said...

Well, Lisa, they still have to test their products. They just get to test them...


Because someone believes they're immune from undue corporate influence.

But if Mattel's own labs had been doing their jobs all along, we wouldn't have the mess that is the CPSIA, would we?

Rena said...

What can we do? When I contacted my state representatives, I got email replies back, but they basically skipped around the subject and rambled about other issues.

Will people boycott Mattel? Would that make any difference?

Vivian Zabel said...

Too bad this didn't come out before the "home town" meetings were over.

I'm boycotting Mattel.

I'm still contacting my state's Congress members and Senators. Even if Mary Fallin sends another letter telling me she supported the CPSIA and how proud she is that she did.

Talk about the whistling winds of Oklahoma.