Consumer Product Safety Testing: Will Your Product be Labeled as "Hazardous"?

Consumer Product Safety Testing: Will Your Product be Labeled as "Hazardous"?

Product safety issues have been the topic of much debate in the United States for more than 50 years. Most of these issues deal with the presence of lead or another toxic compound and the resultant toxicity in common consumer goods. The strong correlation between ingested or inhaled lead compounds and neurological damage, delayed mental and physical development, learning disabilities, and other problems in humans is well documented.

Today, more than ever, the issue of toxicity in consumer goods is at the forefront of both public and corporate debate. Several factors have contributed to the rise in prominence of this issue: the outsourcing of the manufacture of inexpensive goods, the sometimes indiscriminant recycling practices of other countries that add lead to an otherwise innocuous mixture or component, and the extensive media coverage surrounding the issue. In response to the heightened awareness, a number of legislative and regulatory initiatives have been put forth. These new requirements and restrictions may negatively affect businesses that are not prepared or that do not fully understand the regulations. For example, toy maker Mattel, Inc. and its Fisher-Price subsidiary recently agreed to pay a $2.3 million civil penalty for allegedly importing and selling toys with excessive levels of lead.

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