Mattel Gets Fined for Lead Toys, Three Years and One Terrible Law Too Late.


hipster baby toys

Remember when all those toys were full of lead and everyone freaked out? Remember a full year later when Congress passed badly-written, redundant, do-something legislation? Remember when that legislation went into effect and wound out scaring the bejeesus out of small toymakers and others who suddenly found themselves laboring under strict (and often pointless) testing requirements? And remember when I wrote a big article about this in the June issue?

It all seems so long ago.

And yet! After years of hullabaloo, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has finally gotten around to levying a $2.3 million fine against Mattel and Fisher-Price for violating a perfectly good law that went into effect in 1978. That law, of course, already banned all of the stuff that freaked people out in 2007.

From the Homemade Toy Alliance, which is leading the fight against the new law:

"One of the biggest frustrations with this issue is that Mattel and Fisher-Price broke a law that was already on the books, but the Congress reacted by writing another law that doesn't improve the safety of children's products on the market," Mary Newell of Terrapin Toys (OR) states. "Instead, small companies get penalized for not having the capital to third party test their safe products, and Mattel and Fisher-Price get a financial slap on the wrist."

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  1. And yet… And YET, lawmakers will fail to see the stupidity of the CPSIA and will not repeal it.

  2. Mmmm, barriers to entry.

  3. Repeal would make the overlords appear impotent.

    More laws = more “freedom”

  4. Only a conspiracy theorist would think that this is anything but a innocent mistake.

  5. I love all the bullshit about rescuing the economy, helping The Little Guy on Main Street.

    They throw billions of dollars are giant failures while leaving small business owners completely unable to get credit, so now they have to lay off more people. And since small business owners employ 90+% of the people in this country, that’s no small problem.

    Then they make it illegal for any of those at-home by choice or by circumstance to have a go at supporting themselves by some creative endeavor.

    Way to grind The American Dream into the dirt, Dear Leaders. Bra-fucking-vo!

  6. Hmmm… incoherent rant.

    My humble apologies for the typorific nature of that last post.


  7. “These highly publicized toy recalls helped spur Congressional action last year to strengthen CPSC and make even stricter the ban on lead paint on toys,” said CPSC Acting Chairman Thomas Moore. “This penalty should serve notice to toy makers that CPSC is committed to the safety of children, to reducing their exposure to lead, and to the implementation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.”


    Somebody rant for me, please. I’m too worked up.

  8. Oh. For a while there, I thought you were going against the 1978 law, which, as you say, was perfectly adequate. As Mattel just found out.

  9. Third party testing is no guarantee of compliance. Remember Arthur Andersen? Now we are saddled with Sarbanes Oxley BS. I have to push a button and sign in just to go into a room where our servers are located at work. Ridiculous.

  10. Now we are saddled with Sarbanes Oxley BS.

    Which, I might point out, has failed utterly. But won’t be repealed in my lifetime.

  11. It seems like Ms Newell is saying the fine levied against Mattel should be larger. I wonder how much larger.

  12. You people all missed the important part of this post!

    Those stuffed space invaders are really cool.

  13. “Instead, small companies get penalized for not having the capital to third party test their safe products, and Mattel and Fisher-Price get a financial slap on the wrist.”

    While gathering market share from small companies and the effectively illegal toy resale market.

    Don’t throw me in that briar patch, Brer Congress.

  14. These fuckhead dicks and twats on capitol hill have their heads so far up each others ass …

    Okay we passed an monumentally imbecilic unneeded law because we were too goddam stupid to look and see whether applicable laws alreaddy existed.

    So what if the law was overly broad and poorly written by the least intelligent shit for brain staffers of the most “challenged” committee memeber.

    Nobody will notice that we lack the testicular fortitude necessary to admit we screwed the pooch on this one after numerous organizations pointed out the consequences that an above average 12 year old could have forseen.

    It was in the news and we are such a bunch hystercal pussies in D.C. that we had to something, no matter how poorly thought out, no matter how much it rewards the very people who were responsible for this public relations fuck story in the first goddam place.

    God I hate fucking congresscritters. Guess what lying incompetent bastard signed the bill.

  15. As I’ve been saying… We’ve got so many laws and regulations on the books that it’s easier for the political class to simply pass new ones than it is to figure out what the old ones are.

  16. it’s all fucked up

  17. Yup. I feel like vomiting uncontrollably.

  18. Thank you, J sub D. Thank you kindly.


    I packaged up a passel of aprons, bibs, overalls, and quilts for consignment at The Makery on Bardstown Rd. here in Louisville.

    Who do you think will go to jail first? The owner of The Makery, or me?

    And to make my life even more of a joke, I’m going to spend the rest of my day writing a Pre-IDE for the FDA. After reading 21 CFR (parts 1 through 1499, thankyouverymuch) and finding “(332) Antiflatulent products for over-the-counter human use”…

    The Beano Regulation, ladies and gentlemen! Courtesy of your stupid fucking government.

    I’d suggest the best way to convince someone to become a libertarian is to make them read the CFR.

  19. The worst part about it is that now, almost a year after passing CPSIA, Congress STILL hasn’t released the extra funding for the CPSC that would have allowed for better enforcement of the existing laws, PLUS they still only have two commissioners even though CPSIA raised the number of commissioners from three to five. CPSIA was supposed to “strengthen” the CPSC, but so far all it’s done is required CPSC to enforce an unenforceable law with a staff that wasn’t adequate to the task before the unenforceable law was passed.

  20. Hey, I referenced this excellent article in a post for The Inductive:…..anism.html

    Hope all is well. Keep up the good work.

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