Mattel. The name is no longer only synonymous with Barbie, Hot Wheels, and Polly Pocket. Now when you hear “Mattel”, it’s flashback time: to lead-laden, choketastic toys.
When the Consumer Products Safety Commission was charged with implementing the new CPSIA, designed to make toys safer, fans of handcrafted goods worried: would we still be able to get our beloved natural toys? After all, toy testing for lead and phthalates has a price tag attached that is harder on the small business owner than it is on corporate giants like Mattel.
Turns out, it’s especially easy for Mattel, as the toy manufacturer gets to use “independent” in-house testing instead of submitting its toys to third-party testing like everyone else, as the AP reports,
The Consumer Product Safety Commission recently, and quietly, granted Mattel’s request to use its own labs for testing.
Although I’d love to not be too cynical on this, guess what? Coincidentally, Mattel spent $1 million last year in lobbying costs.
Earlier this year, as you may remember, Mattel was ordered to pay $2.3 million in fines for violating lead laws.
At the time, the acting chair of the CPSC said of the record-setting penalty,
This penalty should serve notice to toymakers that CPSC is committed to the safety of children, to reducing their exposure to lead and to the implementation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.
Yeah….you sure showed them. Especially that whole bit about the “test your own” toys. Whee!
In their defense, Mattel spokeswoman Lisa Marie Bongiovanni said the company has a failsafe: a “firewall” so the corporate interests wouldn’t interfere with the quality of the tests. Presumably made of Legos? (Oh wait, that’s not Mattel.)
We have extremely qualified people who work feet away from our production lines. It allows us to do more testing than any other toy company out there.
I’m sure that close proximity is also convenient for elbow nudging, too. Wow and Gee Whiz! What does Mattel think they’re playing us for?
Image: House of Sims on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.
I’ll still stick to hand made natural toys, thank you. I’m not interested in my child playing with mass produced, run of the mill, cheap plastic toys anyway. Especially if they are connected with movie characters.
Sian Wu says
Wow, I was not aware of that loophole. Just another sign that something needs to change in DC! While I don’t frequent the toy aisles for my kid very often, there’s no guarantee that these toys wouldn’t somehow end up in his mouth given his giving grandparents and relatives! Thanks for looking into this.
Fine Life Folk says
Who monitors this anyway? The information is great, but now what?
Polkadot Patch Boutique says
Unfortunately with the CPSIA, the number of small businesses crafting natural toys will continue to dwindle. With the batch labeling requirements of the law and then the costs of testing (when the stay is lifted in Feb.) many, many small businesses will close. We seem to be losing our artisan crafters every week who just don’t have the time, money, or patience to deal with this law. So while I agree with PureMothers statement about natural toys…I’m afraid we aren’t going to have much to choose from soon!
Fortunately I know what a rip off Mattel is and do not purchase ANY of their products ever. dot. dot.
I am not a glutton for punishment and know when to keep it movin’
For the best in handmade check out Etsy Team NaturalKids. Great handmade toys and children’s products made by people fighting for their right to keep doing what they love.