On the upside, there is a great deal of testing going on across the industry. In part, retailers have increased the pressure on suppliers to verify that their products meet federal regulations. More testing has meant continued fall out. Since the beginning of the new year, ten more products have been recalled due to excessive lead content. While toy industry folks are quick to point out that there are thousands of products on the market, it’s not such a big number–it is important to remember that under current guidelines, companies are not required to recall toys with excessive levels of embedded lead. The federal guidelines only address surface coated paint that has excessive lead content.
So what has changed? More testing, yes. And while there is legislation pending in Congress, nothing has been passed. The leading toy industry association has indicated that it will release its own recommendations for testing standards but has not done so yet. Perhaps it will be part of their toy fair media work.
The answer, therefore, is that there is a lot of forward motion, but no touchdown (I oddly miss football this week). The industry remains on its own, the CPSC has not been given additional resources or legislated bite to its enforcement abilities, and the media has lost interest to a large extent.
What’s a parent to do? Stay on top of the recalls (you can register for email alerts at http://www.cpsc.gov.)