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Possible trouble for Washington toy ban

Published on: December 30, 2013

I've been hearing the rumblings for weeks. Toymakers and toy distributors are all a dither over our state's pending - and very strict - toy-safety law. Seems there are concerns over possible unintended consequences of said bill. Like, a horrible scary toy shortage.

Which is somehow, astonishingly, being spun as worse than poisonous toys.

'Scuse me? To avoid poisoning children, I for one will gladly give up my right to a rubber chicken. Yes, I'll go ahead and take one for the team - the team being thousands of helpless babies and children who are trusting us to get this right - and I will pass on that $10 shopping spree at Archie McPhee. You know, the one where I get my googly eyeball glasses and my plastic vomit - all made in China - and all probably tainted with one or more of the "big three" evil chemicals we're trying to keep out of the mouths of babes.

So I called Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, the driving force behind this bill, and I asked her about these so-called unintended consequences: that the new rules require onerous toy inspections and documentations that will force toymakers to skip our state.

"That's crazy," the dynamo children's advocate says. "The vast majority of the toys in Washington do not contain the three toxic chemicals (lead, cadmium, and phthalates) we're talking about in levels that are of concern."

I asked Ivy Sager-Rosenthal with Washington Toxics Coalition about this so-called "onerous" documentation requirement.

"That’s not right," she tells me. "If it’s a safe toy under the law, there is no documentation required. They don’t have to do a thing.

"I think the confusion is that under the law...any toy manufacturer that markets a toy with [lead, cadmium, or phthalates] in it, they have to tell the department of ecology that their toy doesn't exceed safe standards.

"What’s been happening is the toy manufacturers have been really scaring the toy reps and the toy stores and saying they’re not going to sell toys in Washington because of this bill."

Here's a phone number for ya, Olympia area code, goes to the office of one veto-thinkin' governor: 360-902-4111. Just a suggestion.

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