"Dangerous" Toys Pulled from Shelves, Businesses Baffled Over Ban

By: Jessica Zartler Email
By: Jessica Zartler Email

A new ban on toys with harmful chemicals went into effect Tuesday and businesses say they're glad to take dangerous toys off their shelves but it could hit them and their customers in the wallet.

After hundreds of recalls of children's products congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

The new law calls for stricter standards for toys that contain lead and bans toys with other harmful chemicals called phthalates that are linked to hormone disruption.

After lawsuits by consumer advocate groups the ban is now in effect.

It applies to all products sold to children under 12--from clothing to baby bottles to diapers.

Manufacturers are supposed to test all their products for lead and phalates before they ship them to retailers.

But the ban is retroactive, meaning retailers are supposed to purge their shelves of any of those products.

So even though many are praising the ban, business groups and retailers say there's a lot of confusion over exactly what products to pull and say it could cost them a lot of money.

"Is this safe for my kids?" Darrel Taylor asked a toy store owner on Tuesday.

It's a question on many parents minds after several recalls involving kids products.

But Darrel Taylor says he doesn't know what a phthalates is or that the six types of the chemical are now banned.

"I just assume that if it's sold in the store that the store owner would be responsible enough to ensure the product is safe for the consumer," Taylor told 11 News.

He was shopping for his four kids at Toys For the Fun of It in downtown Grand Junction on Tuesday and was glad to hear store owner Mike Allen say he's on top of it.

"We've been talking to our sales reps and making sure all of our manufacturers are in compliance," said Allen.

He says his store is phthalate-free and even had one of his shipments randomly checked by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and it passed.

Although he says talking to his manufacturers hasn't cost him too much,
their phthalate testing costs are trickling down, raising his costs five to 15 percent.

"We've been seeing the prices go up for the last three months and I'm sure we're gonna be seeing prices increase in the future," Allen told 11 News on Tuesday.

And other businesses are feeling the cost but their task of clearing the shelves has been more difficult.

Goodwill says because not all of its products are new, it's not just a simple call to the manufacturer.

The company is not sure which merchandise to pull but is pulling tons of it.

Its trying to get guidance from the Consumer Product Safety Commission but in the meantime, estimates it will lose hundreds of thousand of dollars every month.

And retailers say those costs may end up costing shoppers like Darrell Taylor at the cash register.

The ban involves tougher guidelines for lead and six kinds of phthalates that have already been banned in Europe for the last decade.

Testing has linked phthalates to genital disfiguration and allergies in children.

Phthalates are used in vinyl or rubber products to soften them.

For more information on the ban, contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission by clicking on the link below.

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