Let’s Just Hope There’s No Lead in Your Toys Until 2010

The toy companies that moved their production to China in order to save money apparently didn’t calculate the full costs of offshoring. Testing their products for lead is just too expensive, they argue. They have successfully lobbied to delay lead testing rules for children’s toys. Joseph Pereira and Melanie Trottman of the Journal report:

Under pressure from manufacturers, federal regulators have postponed for one year certain testing requirements for lead and other toxic substances in toys and other children’s products.

But unless Congress acts, retailers and manufacturers still won’t be allowed to sell products that don’t comply with tougher lead standards that are set to take effect on Feb. 10. “Congress will need to address that issue — the CPSC cannot,” Nancy Nord, acting chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, said in a statement.

The stay allows manufacturers, which have been hit hard by the recession, to put off costly product testing for levels of lead, used to stabilize the plastic in products, and phthalates, which are chemicals used to soften plastic. The testing rules were supposed to have taken effect on Feb. 10 as well.

So, let’s just hope that there’s no lead in the toys you buy your kids in the next year. Oops, wait a minute. There is lead in them. All you have to do is test to find it:

Friday, the Center for Environmental Health, an advocacy group in Oakland, Calif., said it found several Valentine’s Day stuffed-animal toys sold by Rite Aid Corp. and Longs Drugs, a unit of CVS Caremark Corp., with lead exceeding the new national standards that take effect on Feb. 10. The lead levels found in one of the stuffed-animal toys were more than 15 times the new federal limit, the Center for Environmental Health said. “There should be something to back up a claim that the products are safe, but without testing and certification there’s no assurance,” said Charles Margulis, a spokesman for the group.