The importance of open-ended dialogue was stressed throughout the Toy Industry Association’s (TIA) annual Toy Safety Update, held on Monday, February 15. Attendees of the free seminar at the 113th North American International Toy Fair in New York City were also kept abreast of developments related to federal, state and international toy safety laws and regulations.
TIA members along with commissioners and officers of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) spoke before hundreds of toy manufacturers, retailers, designers and testing lab representatives at the Javits Center.
In her keynote address, Commissioner Ann Marie Buerkle discussed regulations’ negative impact on the U.S. economy. She said although the news of strong toy sales of 2015 was inspiring, the burdens of going into business still deters would-be entrepreneurs.
“The cost of multiple levels of regulations is $2 trillion. That’s what’s taken out of the economy and not used to hire people. The burdens outweigh the benefits and…we as regulators must be careful to find a balance,” said Buerkle. “We all want a safe product. How we achieve it must be done in a reasonable way.”
Commissioner Bob Adler’s keynote address commended the industry for its ongoing and positive communication efforts and for making safety a top priority in all phases of production.
“Society wants us to walk the extra mile and the toy industry has gone beyond a mile,” he said.
Commissioner Adler also strongly recommended that TIA’s members stay involved and provide input on the policy making process. He also asked that they continue to communicate to CPSC on matters that impact their businesses.
Both commissioners fielded questions from the audience, with topics ranging from phthalate testing to mandatory and voluntary standards.
As his last official action before leaving CPSC this week, Small Business Ombudsman Neal Cohen introduced the CPSC’s “Regulatory Robot.” The cloud-based web site and tool is designed to help companies identify important product safety requirements relevant to their products.
“This will provide a context for everyone. It will take a company’s willingness to comply and translate it into action,” said Cohen.
The session also provided safety-related news for North America, including the most recent anticipated revisions to ASTM F963, expected to be included in a 2016 version of this key toy safety standard. The changes discussed included some not yet adopted as final, and cover such requirements as those affecting projectiles, expanding toys, magnets, microbiological safety, battery-operated toys, and a number of other safety aspects. In addition, updates to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA); State legislation activity, and a number of emerging issues affecting the industry were detailed by senior members of TIA’s External Affairs department.
A recording of the Toy Safety Update will be posted to the TIA website in the coming days; members will be notified once it is available.
© Courtesy of Toy Industry Association – a member of EACC NY