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Safety law costly to small toy makers | PressDemocrat.com | The Press Democrat | Santa Rosa, CA
Wednesday 31 Dec 2008, 07:30
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Safety law costly to small toy makers | PressDemocrat.com | The Press Democrat | Santa Rosa, CA.

Sarah’s Silks makes toys and costumes exclusively from silk and wood, yet the Forestville company must test for dangerous levels of lead and plastic under a new federal law.

That’s because consumer product regulators aim to restore confidence in toy safety following a wave of recalls a year ago and scrutiny over banned materials linked to toys made in China.

Small toy manufacturers and national trade federations support the intent, but oppose measures they contend endanger the industry’s small businesses. Concerns center on costly certification of product safety for companies, particularly those with handmade toys featuring natural materials that have never faced a recall.

“It’s so expensive. It’s going to really hurt, but we have to do it to keep in business,” said Sarah Lee, owner of Sarah’s Silks.

Faced with lab costs of $145,000 for testing and certifying half its catalog of 50 toys and costumes, the company will cut back on what it sells to U.S. stores. Those costs alone will eliminate more than 30 percent of Sarah’s Silks annual profits, Lee said.

The problem with regulations, is it takes time, and money to implement them. It is cheaper to be a large manufacture than a small one, you can buy in bulk, you can dedicate staff to regulations, and only have to pay once for millions of toys. Face it, we want small businesses to survive, but only make it easier for large ones to do so.

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