Crackdown on Toxic Toys

By: Lauren Evans Email
By: Lauren Evans Email

Mother of two Jen Anibal is choosy when it comes to her kids' toys.

"Because kids touch them, the put them in their mouths, they chew on them, even older kids tend to chew on some toys," Anibal says.

She worries about chemicals her children could come in contact with -- a valid concern. In the past few years, there have been a rash of toy recalls by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

"Mr. Potato Head, Barbie dolls, all contain chemicals that have been found to be harmful to children, like arsenic," says Rep. Mark Meadows, (D) East Lansing. "We want to make sure that parents have the opportunity to make the decision themselves as to whether their children should have these toys."

So house democrats are introducing legislation that gives parents a right to know about chemicals in toys. It would require manufacturers to report exactly what chemicals they use when they make children's products.

"This new plan that we have, the Children's Safe Products Act, will provide parents and consumers with a registry of good information so that they can make responsible choices about what products they choose to bring home for their child to wear and play with," explains Rep. Rebekah Warren, (D) Ann Arbor, the sponsor of the package.

The plan requires the Michigan Dept. of Community Health to identify "chemicals of concern," defined as those known to cause cancer, reproductive or developmental harm, brain damage, or hormone disruption, by 2011.

Manufacturers would need to identify products that contain any "chemicals of concern," as well as how much of the chemical they contain, and the reason for using the chemical in the product.

Manufacturers that don't comply with the act would be fined up to $5,000 for a first offense. A second offense would cost up to $25,000, and a third offense would cost up to $50,000.

A manufacturer that knowingly ignores the act would be fined up to $150,000.

That's a penalty parents support, so manufacturers are held accountable for their toys.

"We buy them as consumers and we would like to know what's in the toys, especially when we bring them into our homes," Anibal says. "And if we have kids who, maybe, their immune systems aren't as great, or maybe they're just more affected by those types of things, we should, as parents, be able to know that."

The package of bills will be introduced to the state house this week.

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  • by Mims Location: Pasadena on Apr 21, 2009 at 07:10 PM
    The problem with this and the CPSIA is that it is asking for redundant testing and testing of items that do not have any "bad" chemicals (an organic t-shirt is not lethal!). The costs of the tests are exorborant and will have to be factored into the overall price the consumers will have to pay. It is putting small and big businesses out of business, in an already bad economy. If parents want to buy inexpensive toys, then it is up to parents to be aware that cheap does not equal quality. With all of these tests and regulations, understand that you, as parents, will be paying not $3 for a Barbie, but $ 30 or $50...are you willing to do that? If so, great, if not, guess won't have ANY options to choose from and no items for your kids because companies will just stop making things for kids 12 and under. The problem is that it has been "cheap, fast and easy" all these years, and that's why these items are being made in China...if you are not willing to pay extra $$$ for quality
  • by Anonymous on Apr 21, 2009 at 09:47 AM
    Legislation only increases the prices. If we want to improve the quality of these products, we need to make a clear effort to avoid stores and places that would think of selling them.
  • by rick Location: holt mi on Apr 21, 2009 at 06:05 AM
    Where do most toys and products come from?Not from the USA.NO thoes jobs went over seas where people work for pennies and cheap ways out for bussiness owners.See how the overseas companies like being fined?Sooner or later many bussiness will wished they'd stayed here in the states.This could be a good thing.However will other countries go a long with this?Greedy is been let go to long.Way to many recalls and they should of never happened.Kids got sick,animals died,still we buy.Why? we are forced to.It is not made in the USA.Should be.It would mean we had jobs,that would be nice.We need more stuff made in the USA.Work on that.
  • by cb Location: lansing on Apr 20, 2009 at 06:32 PM
    Business owners both large and small should be held responsible also. They are the ones that always want to buy the cheap junk from Chinese manufacturers. How many times have we seen in the past couple of years reports on Lead poisening, Melamine poisening etc... and the best part business owners buy this cheap junk and pass it off to the public so they can make a profit.
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