Toy Makers Get 1-Year Reprieve on Toxic Testing

by | Feb 2, 2009

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lead-toys.jpgFederal regulators postponed testing requirements that would have forced manufacturers to shell out large fees for failing to check childrens’ products for lead content, writes the LA Times.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) deferred the Feb. 10 deadline that it had set for producers and importers of children’ s goods to test all items to ensure they don’t contain more than 600 parts per million of lead. The CPSC also gave them an extra year to test for phthalates, which are chemicals often used in plastic.

Still, manufacturers could face civil and criminal penalties if they put products that exceed the lead limits on the market.

The industry is still waiting for guidelines for toys and clothing made from natural materials. And there are exceptions: manufacturers still must test products for small parts that may break off, lead content in children’s jewelry, and lead paint. They have to make sure that cribs conform to legal standards.

Many in the industry have said they are willing to cooperate – but on a more realistic timetable, according to CPSC spokesman Joseph Martyak.

In July ’08, House and Senate lawmakers agreed to permanently ban three types of phthalates from children’s toys and to outlaw three other phthalates from products, a law that came into effect last month.

Consumers and advocate groups have started taking matters into their own hands, using specialized technology like X-ray guns to detect unsafe levels of lead and other chemicals in toys.

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