Mattel gets a CPSIA waiver

posted at 9:30 am on August 28, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

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.

Mattel gets to test its own products.  People like Suzi Lang have to pay laboratories to certify their hand-made products contain no lead or phthalates, which she already knows because she handpicks her materials.  Thrift stores have to either test products for resale or confirm that they have not been recalled, on an individual basis.  But the company that caused the biggest problem that led to the CPSIA gets a waiver.  How convenient … and unjust.


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People like Suzi Lang have to pay laboratories to certify their hand-made products contain no lead or phthalates, which she already knows because she handpicks her materials.

If she contributes to BHO 2012, she can slide just like Mattel.

jgapinoy on August 28, 2009 at 9:34 AM

A cynical person — not me, of course, I assure you — but as I was saying, a cynical person might just suppose that there was a bit of payola from Mattel. Nah, couldn’t be….

jwolf on August 28, 2009 at 9:34 AM

Mattel is too big to fail!

Disturb the Universe on August 28, 2009 at 9:36 AM

We mustn’t forget that Mattel has lobbyists and money for campaign contributions. Just business as usual.

a capella on August 28, 2009 at 9:37 AM

“Pay to Play” shall we say..

wheels on August 28, 2009 at 9:38 AM

They will have to pry that “My Little Pony” out of my cold, dead hands…

right2bright on August 28, 2009 at 9:38 AM

Libs in action.

LibTired on August 28, 2009 at 9:39 AM

If Suzi Lang wanted to start her own laboratory I’m sure she could get a waiver too. But starting a lab is more expensive than testing a few products. At least Lang isn’t having to spend millions of dollars in the process.

jonknee on August 28, 2009 at 9:42 AM

If they outlaw toys, only outlaws will have toys.

(h/t to the person who did that the last time this topic was posted)

Daggett on August 28, 2009 at 9:45 AM

Where are the labs that Mattel will use? Mexico, Malaysia, Indonesia, and China — and China is where the dangerous toys originated.

Fine. Now it’s “You can tell it’s Mattel: it’s swell sweat shopped.”

apostic on August 28, 2009 at 9:45 AM

The war on small business continues…

zmdavid on August 28, 2009 at 9:45 AM

I thought Obama was all about FAIRNESS……confused…..?

search4truth on August 28, 2009 at 9:46 AM

Look for the new socially conscious AmeriCorp Barbie and ACORN Ken.

Disturb the Universe on August 28, 2009 at 9:46 AM

Big Toy gets a pass? This is outrageous.

Bishop on August 28, 2009 at 9:46 AM

Eh…I just can’t get excited about toys that never killed me, or for that matter anyone else, when I was a kid.

Is all this some convoluted way to get the smart kids to stop making fun of their classmates who eat paint chips?

James on August 28, 2009 at 9:47 AM

Mattel is rolling out the WeeWee Man doll.

faraway on August 28, 2009 at 9:51 AM

This was a no brainer. Mattel’s manufacturing operations all occur off shore. The current legislation would prohibit them from importing their products. Secondly, the CPSIA is designed to make criminals of the average citizen. Levying fines and or jail time on the average citizen provides a bankrupt government funds to continue to pay off our national debt.

AASLT on August 28, 2009 at 9:54 AM

Mmmmm…These paint chips are good.

whitetop on August 28, 2009 at 9:54 AM

They cancelled plans for the Kennedy Oldsmobile car.

faraway on August 28, 2009 at 9:55 AM

Oh, the wisdom of politicians!

shick on August 28, 2009 at 9:58 AM

But the company congress that caused the biggest problem that led to the CPSIA financial collapse gets a waiver re-elected. How convenient … and unjust… and common.

FTFY

Abby Adams on August 28, 2009 at 9:58 AM

Oh yes the wisdom!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRdLpem-AAs

Onward Forward and Upward

RoxanneH on August 28, 2009 at 9:59 AM

Eh…I just can’t get excited about toys that never killed me, or for that matter anyone else, when I was a kid.

Is all this some convoluted way to get the smart kids to stop making fun of their classmates who eat paint chips?

James on August 28, 2009 at 9:47 AM

Can you see the value in seat belts? Do you roll around in asbestos? We’ve had plenty of safety improvements in recent decades. Also, you would likely not know if lead damaged you or your playmates–it does a lot more than kill.

jonknee on August 28, 2009 at 10:02 AM

When government and companies work closely together, you are on the path to fascism. The statists need to wise-up and leave companies alone. let them live and die base on the Balance sheet, P&L and reputation.

WashJeff on August 28, 2009 at 10:03 AM

Mattel is rolling out the WeeWee Man doll.

faraway on August 28, 2009 at 9:51 AM

Is it dragging a lead balloon with “my poll numbers” written on it?

farright on August 28, 2009 at 10:04 AM

Big Toy gets a pass? This is outrageous.

Bishop on August 28, 2009 at 9:46 AM

Heh.

LibTired on August 28, 2009 at 10:06 AM

Mattel announces new doll brand:

Bi-racial Barbie and Barack Ken Set

BobMbx on August 28, 2009 at 10:09 AM

well I will just continue my Mattel boycott. We as consumers make statements with our dollars and my statement is no money for Mattel/ Fisher Price period.

JKotthoff on August 28, 2009 at 10:10 AM

This is just the normal result of government and business getting in the sack together. While every else has to be subjected to increased rugulation, the “special” ones get a pass, and an unfair advantage which will result in less competition.
.

This is the reason why government should be kept as far away from free markets as possible

akaag on August 28, 2009 at 10:17 AM

Big Toy gets a pass? This is outrageous.

Bishop on August 28, 2009 at 9:46 AM

Big Toy. ha!

This is awful and will hit my family hard. We sell at craft fairs and on etsy. This is bad news. What I am most shocked about is why no liberal outrage over the crafting/artisan businesses?

He/they weren’t kidding when they said they would fundamentally remake america. Nothing says America like summer yard sales and mini-entrepreneurship…strapping them with regulation “for the kids” shows nothing but their naked lust for control over every inch of our lives. Despicable.

Mommypundit on August 28, 2009 at 10:26 AM

It’s Mattel, it’s swell!

Jeff from WI on August 28, 2009 at 10:30 AM

I find this to be disgusting. Mattel was one of the primary reasons for this legislation in the first place and now they are getting a pass on it.

Give me a break.

Seems to me that this could possibly go afoul of the equal protection clause that laws apply equally to all people, this is definately unequal enforcement.

TKSnider on August 28, 2009 at 10:31 AM

Is there any lead in THIS Mattel toy?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXui3FqBk8w

I had one of these they were great!

Jeff from WI on August 28, 2009 at 10:33 AM

I worked for Mattel during a Christmas rush in high school. My job was gluing hair on Barbie and fake grass on putting greens. Sorry to say some kids got Barbie with grass and putting greens with hair.

Hening on August 28, 2009 at 10:43 AM

I had one of these they were great!

Jeff from WI on August 28, 2009 at 10:33 AM

Looks like an answer to America’s aggression. Obama can start supplying the troops with Mattel weapons.

Hening on August 28, 2009 at 10:46 AM

I had one of these they were great!

Jeff from WI on August 28, 2009 at 10:33 AM

Looks like an answer to America’s aggression. Obama can start supplying the troops with Mattel weapons.

Hening on August 28, 2009 at 10:46 AM

America’s aggression??!!…LOL…we’ve wimpified boys. Toy guns were never a problem. Turning them into wimps is a problem.

Jeff from WI on August 28, 2009 at 10:53 AM

Big Regulation helps Big Business.

daryl_herbert on August 28, 2009 at 10:57 AM

jonknee on August 28, 2009 at 10:02 AM

blood lead levels once considered safe are now considered hazardous, with no known threshold.

Notice the bold. As to asbestos and other “ails” like silicon in breast implants – once lawyers get a whiff os something “harmful” – they set the tone and garbage “thresholds unknown” to make their cases.

Did you know even the famed Erin Brakovich case was considered bogus?

Funny how my uncles all lived healthy lives, while both working in WW2 manufacturing and asbestos all their lives, yet died in their late 70′s… My uncle Dom was a master lead molder for muscle car rebuilds, used to lick his fingers, then spread the lead manually. Died at 98.

And seat belts have everything to do with physics, not “chemical components that have thresholds undetermined”

Odie1941 on August 28, 2009 at 11:02 AM

Small business owners get driven out of business and Mattel gets a pass? The same Mattel that produced Little Mommy dolls that said, “Islam is the Light”?

Cara C on August 28, 2009 at 11:06 AM

I wonder if small manufacturers can get around the CPSIA regulations by marketing their products as “collectibles” instead of toys? Perhaps Suzi Lang can sell her teething giraffes as “limited-edition teething giraffe replicas” (wink, wink) or something like that. Thrift shops can similarly label some products as “collectible,” indicating that they are for collectors only, and not intended for use as the toys they once were. Companies exploit this kind of loophole to get around regulations all the time; I don’t always approve of it, but in cases like this, you have to fight fire with fire.

And exactly how long do you expect the army of inspectors deployed to enforce these regulations to be funded? After a short time of not bringing in the revenue that Congress expects them to, I’d anticipate that they would be quickly swept under the rug, even if the CPSIA itself stays on the books.

Marauder on August 28, 2009 at 11:16 AM

Another piece of “drive-by legislation” from Democrats. Lots of noise, everybody gets scared, innocent people are hurt, the intended targets walk away without a scratch, and the a-holes who started the whole thing get away clean.

Damn, this used to be a nice country.

Socratease on August 28, 2009 at 11:20 AM

And exactly how long do you expect the army of inspectors deployed to enforce these regulations to be funded? After a short time of not bringing in the revenue that Congress expects them to, I’d anticipate that they would be quickly swept under the rug, even if the CPSIA itself stays on the books.

Marauder on August 28, 2009 at 11:16 AM

One of the hallmarks of a corrupt area is variable law enforcement. So the well connected get by. Others can make it with a well placed bribe, or take the hint when the inspector comes by the first time. And those who sincerely attempt to run their lives honestly are hurt the most, and become very angry.

jwolf on August 28, 2009 at 11:23 AM

Fascism liteish

The Calibur on August 28, 2009 at 11:36 AM

Socialism

BigMike252 on August 28, 2009 at 11:39 AM

The Government doesn’t like people making their own money at yard sales and thrift stores without sending the Government “its” share of the proceeds.

Elizabetty on August 28, 2009 at 11:47 AM

Was this the plan in the first place?

Cato Say No.

Big government + big business = fascism.

PattyJ on August 28, 2009 at 11:52 AM

Can you see the value in seat belts? Do you roll around in asbestos? We’ve had plenty of safety improvements in recent decades. Also, you would likely not know if lead damaged you or your playmates–it does a lot more than kill.

jonknee on August 28, 2009 at 10:02 AM

I don’t use a seatbelt, because I ride on top of my car and work the pedals and steering wheel using a systems of pulleys. But only after my daily asbestos roll with lead spritzer. Or I used to, anyway, because I’m an effing moron and need big daddy government to line the world in bubblewrap for me and swaddle me in 18 layers of protective fabric. The fact that I don’t walk so much as roll isn’t a bug, it’s a feature.

TheUnrepentantGeek on August 28, 2009 at 11:53 AM

Culture of Corruption. And the stupid rules are typical of libs “unintended consequences.” To make someone test something they made when they know by the ingredients they used that there is no possibility of contamination is utterly ridiculous. Govt. regulation — what a joke.

Christian Conservative on August 28, 2009 at 11:59 AM

Has anyone said if ebay is getting hit for this? I hadn’t heard yet… or do they get a ‘waiver’ as well?

DaSaintFan on August 28, 2009 at 12:01 PM

“Decapitated Barbie: If you see her thighs, cut off her head!” *

*Includes life-like scimitar and blood.
*Recommended by top Clerics
*Not recommended for girls

BobMbx on August 28, 2009 at 12:09 PM

File this under the unintended consequences section:

Soon they’ll be a black market in children’s toys.

dcman98 on August 28, 2009 at 12:26 PM

This is the way of the emperor. Or the maggot-in-chief. Both names fit the wearer of the clothes.

Griz on August 28, 2009 at 12:51 PM

Back in the 40s toothpaste came in lead tubes. How come everybody from my generation is not dead or deranged? Obviously there a some still in Congress that did not escape the effects.

pckle on August 28, 2009 at 1:45 PM

File this under the unintended consequences section:

Soon they’ll be a black market in children’s toys.

dcman98 on August 28, 2009 at 12:26 PM

Make a note:

Black Market = Racist

Replacement term = “Undocumented commerce”

BobMbx on August 28, 2009 at 2:39 PM

Big Regulation helps Big Business.

daryl_herbert

Always has, always will.

Spiny Norman on August 28, 2009 at 2:43 PM

Another piece of “drive-by legislation” from Democrats. Lots of noise, everybody gets scared, innocent people are hurt, the intended targets walk away without a scratch, and the a-holes who started the whole thing get away clean.
.
Socratease

Exacly right. Google “HVCC” to see another example. The big national mortgage lenders now can continue ripping off borrowers and squeezing independent appraisers, but with the blessing of the Senate banking committee and the New York State AG.

Spiny Norman on August 28, 2009 at 2:54 PM

Look for the new socially conscious AmeriCorp Barbie and ACORN Ken.

Disturb the Universe on August 28, 2009 at 9:46 AM

So does Ken come with a political shakedown script, and Barbie with her own Morning After Pill box?

Wanderlust on August 28, 2009 at 3:07 PM

I wonder if small manufacturers can get around the CPSIA regulations by marketing their products as “collectibles” instead of toys?

Marauder on August 28, 2009 at 11:16 AM

They can’t. If the inspector thinks it looks like a toy, it’s a toy.

Nevicata on August 28, 2009 at 5:37 PM

If you want to know more about this unbelievably oppressive regulation, go to overlawyered.com, that site has been following this since day one and has a whole section devoted to it. It is horrible, just horrible.

also horrible is that the law was passed almost unanimously, GOP and Dems. For shame.

YehuditTX on August 28, 2009 at 8:21 PM

Send a message to the CPSC!

Flood them with messages, maybe they’ll listen…

RustMouse on August 28, 2009 at 10:44 PM