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A SWAT for letting the big company skate

Submitted by on Thursday, 27 August 2009 No Comment

Remember the big toy recall of two summers ago,when everything from Thomas trains to Dora campers disappeared from retailers’ shelves as plaything after plaything was recalled for violating lead standards?

Remember Congress’ uncharacteristic haste in the face of parental outrage to pass a law just months later that set the some of the strongest lead standards in the world for children’s merchandise?

Remember the Consumer Product Safety Commission – a true oxymoron in this case – action this winter that gave manufacturers a pass on meeting testing requirements for a year?

Forget all of that. It doesn’t matter any more. Not when the Consumer Product Safety Commission quietly lets the biggest toy manufacturer in the country – and one of the leaders in recalled toys two years ago – get out of requirements that all lead testing be done in third-party labs.

An expert butcher could not have performed a more thorough and complete gutting than the one bureaucrats executed this week on an important safety law.

Mom making hair bows to sell at the fair will have to undergo independent tested. Mattel – and it subsidiary Fisher Price – will not.

“It’s really ironic that the company that was a principal source of the problem” is now getting favorable treatment from the government, Michael Green, executive director of the Center for Environmental Health in Oakland, told The Associated Press.

Mattel apparently was able to convince – note that the first syllable in convince is “con” – regulators that it could do a good enough job in house without having to go to an expensive third-party lab.

Mattel told the AP that it demonstrated to the CPSC that its products go through rigorous tests. One can only hope that they’re a little more stringent than the procedures two summers ago.

According to data at opensecrets.org, Mattel spent almost three-quarters of a million dollars on lobbying in 2008, a 50 percent jump from its 2007 total of a half million and a gigantic leap from a piddly $120,000 in 2006.

It looks like Mattel got its money’s worth.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission should Stop Wasting America’s Time by tricking us into believing consumers really are their focus.

Why doesn’t Congress rename it the Consumer Products Sort of Safe Unless Some Big Company Complains Commission.

On the other hand, that would be a complete waste of time, too. The commission has proven twice this year that it doesn’t listen to Congress.

Know of someone who deserves a SWAT? Click here to make a nomination.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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