Why Does Mattel Get to Police Itself Under CPSIA??

Filed in Gather Politics News Channel by on August 29, 2009 0 Comments

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) mandates expensive, destructive, third-party testing for all products designed and marketed to children aged twelve and under. Large corporations can reasonably absorb the costs of such testing; however, it places an undue burden on small businesses or companies that produce limited quantities of unique or handmade goods for children. Ironically, many of these small businesses were founded by moms, dads, and grandparents in response to concerns about unsafe, mass manufactured toys flooding the market. As these small businesses – toy-makers, clothiers, artisans, publishers, and others – scramble to comply with the CPSIA, or face bankruptcy, Mattel quietly won a waiver from the CPSC that allows it to test its own products for compliance with the new lead and phthalates standards set by the CPSIA.

Have we forgotten who got us into this mess in the first place? There were six Mattel-related recalls in 2007 that involved more than 2 million toys. Mattel agreed to pay a $2.3 million civil penalty for violating the lead paint ban.

According to the AP, the CPSC approved seven Mattel labs, located in Mexico, China, Malaysia, Indonesia and California as “firewalled third party laboratories” — the first to get that designation under the CPSIA. “Firewalled” means they are deemed to be “insulated from undue corporate influence.”  According to federal records, Mattel spent more than $1 million in 2008 on lobbying. It was instrumental in getting the “firewall” exception added to the law.

But there were laws in place to regulate permissible lead content prior to the CPSIA. If Mattel has the means to do all this rigorous safety testing in-house, why were 2 million toys recalled in 2007?

Why does Mattel get a pass, when Mom and Pop businesses whose products have never proven to be unsafe to children go bankrupt? This isn’t about “child safety.” This is about protecting corporate interests and shareholder profits.

It is becoming more and more important to me that corporations and governments adhere to ethical standards. And I’m going to vote with my wallet on this one.

Buy Old Children’s Books, Instead

The kids will thank you for it, when they’re older.

The CPSC interprets the law to include books. Although they have declared “ordinary books” printed after 1985 to be presumed safe, old and classic children’s books printed prior to 1985 must be removed from store shelves and libraries for testing. Or destroyed.

Read CPSIA and Vintage Books: A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Law. The CPSC cavalierly stated that “Children’s books have limited useful life,” estimated at approximately twenty years. Tell that to the books on my bookshelf.

So, let’s all buy “dangerous” old books that are past their “limited useful life,” and maybe some handmade toys and clothes this Christmas season, and take a pass on the “safe” mass-market toys out there.

How to Contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission


Toll-free Consumer Hotline: 800-638-2772 (TTY 800-638-8270). Call to obtain product safety and other agency information and to report unsafe products. Hotline staff may be reached from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm ET. Messages may be left anytime after these hours. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

General Information: (301) 504-7923 M-F 8:00 am – 4:30 pm ET
Fax: (301) 504-0124 and (301) 504-0025
E-mail: Please use our Contact Form

Street and Mailing Address
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
4330 East West Highway
Bethesda, MD 20814

How to Contact Mattel

Mattel Inc.
333 Continental Blvd. El Segundo CA 90245-5012
Phone: +1 (310) 252-2000
Fax: +1 (310) 252-2179
Web site

AG Brands
8400 Fairway Place
Middleton, WI 53562-0998
608-836-4848 tel
608-836-1999 fax

Fisher-Price Brands
636 Girard Avenue
East Aurora, NY 14052
716-687-3000 tel
716- 687-3636 fax

Mattel Europa, B.V.
Gondel 1
1186 MJ Amstelveen
The Netherlands
3120 503 0503 tel
3120 503 0544 fax

Toys I Won’t be Buying this Christmas

100% Hot Wheels®

American Girl®

American Girl® Magazine

Angelina Ballerinaâ„¢

Baby Playzoneâ„¢

Barbie Consumer Products

Barbie® Collector



Bear In the Big Blue Houseâ„¢

Blue’s Cluesâ„¢

Chatter Mattersâ„¢


Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story

Disney Princesses

Disney’s Atlantis

Dora the Explorerâ„¢



Fisher-Price® Games

Fisher-Price® Preschool Toys


Girls of Many Lands â„¢

Happy Familyâ„¢


Hot Wheels® Electric Racing

Hot Wheels® Shop.com?

Hydro Strike

Jimmy Neutron Boy Geniusâ„¢

Justice Leagueâ„¢


Laugh & Learn

Little Mommy

Looney Tunesâ„¢

Loving Familyâ„¢ Sweet Streets

Magic 8 Ball®

Mary-Kate & Ashley


Matchbox® Kids

Mattel Games and Puzzles

Max Steelâ„¢

Mind Trap

Miracles & Milestones

My Sceneâ„¢

Nickelodeon® Rugrats™

Ocean Wondersâ„¢


Pixel Chix

Polly Pocketâ„¢

Power Wheels®



Rock’em Sock’emâ„¢ Robots

Scrabble® (International)

Sesame Street®


Shield Blasterâ„¢

Skateboard Shannenâ„¢


Super Electronic Ker Plunk!®

Timeless Treasuresâ„¢

Toss Across®

Tyco® R/C


What’s Her Faceâ„¢

Wiggly Worms


American Girl Today®

American Girl® Books

American Girls Collection®

Avatar the last Airbender

Baby University

Barbie Doll of the World



Battle Force 5â„¢

Bitty Baby®


Classical Chorusâ„¢

DC Universeâ„¢

Disney Games


Diva Starzâ„¢


Fashion Avenueâ„¢

Fisher-Price® Baby Gear

Fisher-Price® Infant Toys

Fisher-Price® Rescue Heroes™

Geo Traxâ„¢

Grow to Proâ„¢

Harry Potterâ„¢

Hot Wheels®

Hot Wheels® Racing




Kasey the Kinderbot

Kitchen Play

Learning Patternsâ„¢

Little People®

Loving Family Doll House

Loving Familyâ„¢ Sweet Streets

Magna Doodle®

Masters of the Universe®

Matchbox® Collectibles

Mattel Classic Gamesâ„¢

Matty Collectorâ„¢

Mickey Mouse

Miracle Babyâ„¢

My First Dollhouse

Nickelodeon® Rocket Power™

Nickelodeon® Wild ThornBerrys™




Pound Puppies®




Scene It?â„¢

See ‘n Say®

Shake n’ Go

Shannen & Scooch

Shining Stars®

Snap n’ Style

SpongeBob SquarePantsâ„¢



Tumblin’ Monkeysâ„¢



Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?

Winnie The Pooh


More on CPSIA from my Blog:

I haven’t written on the CPSIA in a while. I naively hoped that sanity would prevail in Washington. Apparently, that’s not going to be the case.

Want to Do More?

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I welcome your thoughts and ideas – that’s what Comments are for!

About the Author ()

I am a professional writer with over twenty years’ experience in technical writing, freelancing, fiction, poetry, and editing.On a really good writing day, I jokingly claim to be channeling the spirits of Edgar Allan Poe, Erma Bombeck, and O. Hen

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