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New Law to Shake Up Toy Shelves in MO

December 29, 2008

Kansas City, MO - A new law could shake up toy shelves in Missouri. But it's not yet in effect, so parents should be vigilant about making sure all the new toys their children received over the holidays are safe, warns the Missouri Coalition for the Environment.

New consumer laws Congress passed in the aftermath of toxic toy recalls last year will take effect in February. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 requires all toys to undergo comprehensive testing before they can be sold. The act also bans harmful chemicals in toys, including lead. Some feared that these new rules could be toxic for toymakers because of the costs involved.

Toy designer and Spirit Marketing CEO Bob Heckert admits it will be tougher for toy makers to stay afloat with these new rules. But, he says, children's toy safety always has been and will be the number one priority for him.

"Like I always told our team, 'People, let's make sure everybody here goes to bed at night not worrying about any of our kids getting hurt.'"

Heckhert says the government moved swiftly on the rules, and he's glad all toy makers will be held accountable.

"Basically the government said 'We've had it. We're not going to have any subjectivity to this. It's all going to be tested, and here are the regulations. And there's no pilot--it's just going to get rolled.'"

Toy manufacturers will have to pay independent testing laboratories to verify that every component of a product meets new limits for lead and does not contain six chemicals that Congress has banned from plastic children's products.

Until then, parents should check for small parts that could cause choking hazards. They also can check for chemical and metal levels on tested toys at www.healthytoys.org.

Information on the new consumer product safety law is available at www.cpsc.gov/.

Laura Thornquist, Public News Service - MO