Since the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act became law in 2008, the dangers of heavy metals contained in promotional products, particularly ones targeted at children, have become well known.
Even with this increased awareness, New York’s Rockland County is taking the additional step of enacting a brand new “Toxic Toy” law, which essentially bans all toys that contain any of these seven chemicals—benzene, lead, mercury, antimony, arsenic, cadmium, and cobalt—in any amount “greater than zero.” According to county executive Ed Day, “This is serious. Beyond the disappointment children have when perfectly safe “Happy Meal” toys are now banned by an absurd law, we now have significant economic issues, such as toy stores who are mulling over pulling other toys, clothes and even child car safety seats off [the] shelves too!”
The Safe to Play Coalition, which represents the Toy Industry Association (TIA), fought against, and successfully turned back, a similar law passed in Albany. According to coalition attorney Rick Locker, “there is no way to test these chemicals down to zero.” And TIA officials add, “Nothing is more important to toymakers than preserving the safety of children at play. Unfortunately, Rockland County’s so-called ‘Toxic Free Toys Act’ is inefficient, unnecessary, illegal, and does nothing to strengthen toy safety.” What do you think? Too much or justifiable action on the part of Rockland County?
Along similar lines, frequent complaints against Alibaba involving the sale of counterfeit goods popped up ahead of an expose´ published in a recent issue of Forbes magazine that asserted that Alibaba’s huge counterfeit issues will never be eliminated. According to the Forbes article, “The scale of the fakery is enormous–at any given time Taobao (Alibaba’s online bazaar) offers millions of suspect goods for sale, from handbags to auto parts, sportswear to jewelry. When Forbes searched for listings on Taobao with the word ‘Gucci’ and set the preferred price range under 300 yuan, (less than $50), well below the price of real Gucci products, 30,000 results popped up.”
While the products may not be real, the problem certainly is. Would you agree?
If you’d like to read more on these topics, please check out my column at Promo Corner Blog.