5 weeks ago
Monday, April 19, 2010
As a Kentuckian who knows how badly we need more jobs, it's a shame to hear from a local hometown business who is genuinely trying to comply with the CPSIA, but finding that the costs are so great that they simply cannot afford the testing. Please read the letter I received below and if you have a similar story, email it to me at Commissioner_Northup@cpsc.gov.
"Last week we selected several more products to eliminate from our product offerings. The products are safe, do not violate any of the CPSIA standards and have been around for over 50 years, but they are too complicated and have too many different parts. Therefore they are too costly to have tested and retested over and over again to prove they are safe. I hope some small companies and some decent product selection can survive in this new world where all products are presumed to be guilty. The only survivors will be the ones that are safe and can also afford to prove they are safe.
The group of items that we decided to discontinue are several kinds of dolls that have lots of different colors and accessories and some plastic to test for phthalates. We would have an average about $1500/doll each time we had to test due to a batch change. If we order them 3 times per year it would be $4500/doll in testing costs to be certain that nothing had changed from any of the suppliers that provide the raw materials that make up the doll parts and/or colors and accessories. With 26 different types of dolls, that would come out to $117,000 per year we would spend on testing. Based upon our sales volume we would lose money every time we order the doll.
This week we are dealing with another toy item that had a piece of PVC pipe as part of the toy. We tested the pipe which is a common pvc pipe like millions of people have in their homes and drink water from each day. We found that the pvc is slightly over the minimum acceptable for one of the phthalates. We are now spending $12,000 (more than doubling the cost of the toy) to replace the pipe components and to expedite shipping so we minimize the amount of money and customers we lose to competitors for this item. If phthalates in water pipes aren't hurting anyone, then how can the pipe in this toy cause a problem? We are spending the money, delivering a revised toy at a loss and complying with the law because we fear being put out of business with a large fine, not because we are saving some child from a dangerous encounter with this product.
I guess we and other small companies will continue to shut down product offerings, reduce employees, reduce our income taxes and eventually there may not be enough money to fund the wasteful efforts from Washington. Nature has a way of correcting problems even if we aren't clever enough to do it on our own. I hope somehow we can find a way to curb this monster and get back to focusing on safety issues.”