Insert Clever Christmas Reference About Toys and Grinches Here

By December 23, 2008Economy

The Los Angeles Times reports on the damage the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act is doing to the toy industry, “For some toy makers, rules to protect kids may be toxic“:

There’s no sign of an economic slowdown at Larry Mestyanek’s toy factory in Compton.

Whirring machines cut letters from the alphabet out of red, blue and yellow slabs of wood, making long rows of the letter E. Across the room, men with air filter masks sand toddler’s chairs that are lined up in rows as if expecting a convention of miniature leaders. The machines are so loud it’s hard to hear the rows of tiny wooden music boxes playing a disjointed lullaby.

But the bustle of activity belies what Mestyanek says is a real concern for his company, TAG Toys. A new federal regulation that took effect this week requires him to have all his products tested for lead paint by an outside firm, and Mestyanek says that could wipe out his small profit, forcing him to raise prices.

“I like the idea of safety, but this is just overreacting,” said Mestyanek, who employs 45 people. The tests for each of his 175 toys run about $2,000, he said. That’s a $350,000 hit to his bottom line, or close to what he makes in annual profit.

The Washington Post also covered the inimical effects of the legislation, as we blogged about here. But should anyone be surprised by the unintended consequences of the law? The American public has a tough time accurately assessing risks, and the fervor of the pro-regulation crowd often produces overkill. If jobs are destroyed for no real benefit, well…

Remember, parents: The safest toy for your children is the one you don’t buy.

And isn’t that sad.

Join the discussion One Comment

Leave a Reply