A few months ago, I began reporting on recalls posted by The Consumer Product Safety Commission. I’ve come back with two major lessons from doing this:
First, the CPSC does an abysmal job. Not only has it missed the bulk of problems inside the American toy industry, it doesn’t even do a good job of following up on state and independent agencies that find dangerous toys.
The CPSC is simply incapable of policing the toy industry. Worse, because the agency almost completely relies on importers and manufacturers to self-report dangerous products, it is fundamentally flawed in structure. Even if legislation to increase the agency’s resources and authority passes, it may be years if ever before the agency becomes effective.
Second, and perhaps even more disheartening, is the abject failure of many consumers to care. Sure, most of my readers care greatly, but as a percentage of the population, only 25 percent say they’re concerned, reports The Wall Street Journal . Thirty-one percent of consumers are not worried about dangerous toys Not sure what happened to the rest of the consumers, but having no opinion at all doesn’t bode well.
“There are some customers who, to be honest, couldn’t care less,” said Erik Kolb, an analyst Standard & Poor’s Equity Research Services.
And while toy sales are not hopping this season, it seems the real reason has more to do with lack of cash and “must-have” toys rather than safety concerns.
In recent months, many groups have started to publish their own recall lists and databases. These sites are larger and far better funded – think $0 – than myself. So as the holiday season edges toward a close, I’m debating whether to continue covering every toy recall I can find.
I’ll be contemplating my decision as I head off for a few days of rest next week. If you have a strong opinion on the matter, please speak up. I’ll let you know what I decide after the holidays.