Co-founders of building block toy company Click-A-Brick Georg de Gorostiza and Jason Smith have given their praise to Bloomberg News for spotlighting an oft-neglected issue; the lack of toy safety inspections.
A Bloomberg News story in the Columbus Dispatch highlighted the fact that the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is tasked with regulating 10,000 items ranging from apparel to toys to household appliances, actually inspects less than one percent of imported goods under its jurisdiction. This means that between overseas manufacturers who want to cut costs, and unscrupulous toy importers and retailers, there are toys being sold that don’t meet safety standards in the United States.
Dollar Tree has the most violations for selling toys that are not compliant with US safety standards, while Target Corp. and Zulily Inc. also rank among the top 10 companies that fail to meet standards for flammability, lead content and other criteria for toys.
“It is a very comfortable lie that Americans are living that Uncle Sam is looking out for them to make sure products are safe,” the news story quotes attorney David Kwass as saying. “He’s not.”
Kwass represented a family who had lost a child due to choking on a marker lid in a lawsuit against Dollar Tree, Walt Disney Co. and others that was settled out of court.
Stories that shed light on the lack of regulation for the toy industry, although scary to read, are needed to draw attention to it, Click-A-Brick co-founder Georg de Gorostiza says.
“As a small toy retailer, we know how much of a hit the entire industry can take when stories like this pop up,” de Gorostiza said. “People can become distrustful of brands they don’t recognize -- even if it’s famous brands that are getting busted -- and when you’re trying to establish your brand within the industry, these kinds of scary stories about lack of regulation can be detrimental. But, having said that, we’re not the ones who are really in danger when it comes to lack of regulation. Children who play with these dangerous toys are the ones who are really at risk and that’s why we at Click-A-Brick do like to see this issue brought up in the media. The more people are aware, the more cognizant they will be about the toys they purchase.”
To play its part in toy safety, Click-A-Brick’s building blocks are made with non-toxic plastic and their size of two by two centimeters mean they are not a choking hazard for ages four and up, which they are meant for.