Experts can disagree about whether toys can safely contain certain phthalates. But that's no excuse for the lack of sound judgment exhibited by some of the people featured in today's Wall Street Journal story, "Toys Containing Banned Plastics Still on Market." The angle: there's a flood of toys hitting stores nationwide that contain phthalates, because some retailers are rushing to sell them before a Feb. 10 ban takes effect. Consumers will see "toys marked down at a discount without knowing that they contain a substance that will be banned in February," Elizabeth Hitchcock of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group told the newspaper. A spokeswoman for the Consumer Product Safety Commission defended the practice, telling the WSJ that Congress did not deem phthalates unsafe, but only banned future sales. Here are some questions to consider.
- If CPSC doesn't think Congress thought these toys were unsafe, why does it think they banned future sales?
- If Congress thinks the toys aren't safe, yet retailers are trying to push them out the door now (just ahead of the Christmas shopping season), what will they do if some lawyers decide that would make an interesting class-action lawsuit?
- And if Congress thinks these toys are unsafe, why did they allow retailers to continue to sell them until Feb. 10? These are toy ducks and teethers we're talking about, not life-saving medicines.