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Brooks Schuelke
Brooks Schuelke
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Will Retailers Push Toys With Lead Paint This Holiday Season?

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I’ve been critical of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, but I wanted to give them credit for implementing a new regulation requiring manufacturers and retailers to stop selling inventory that doesn’t meet new tougher lead paint standards by February 10, 2009.

Today’s Wall Street Journal reports on smaller retailers and manufacturers asking that the requirement be relaxed until they get rid of their current inventories.

But what if the rules aren’t relaxed? Then the businesses have a big incentive to get the product off their shelves before the February 10 deadline. I haven’t seen any suggestion of this in the press, but it occurs to me that one way for the vendors to meet that deadline is to try and unload the product during the busy holiday shopping season. Perhaps all of us that are parents or otherwise shopping for kids ought to be cognizant of this risk as we go shopping the next six weeks.

I think it also puts the vendors in an awkward liability posture. Through the new regulations, the federal government has essentially said that products that are above the new allowable levels are dangerous. How can a business now know the dangerous levels and continue selling the products that don’t meet that standard without risking liability?

Unfortunately, I don’t have any answers today, just interesting questions.