Wal-Mart Provides New Toy Safety Guidelines
In light of the recalls and concerns over toy safety, last fall Wal-Mart implemented a “Toy Safety Net” program to re-test toys on its shelves through independent labs, and work with industry representatives and policy makers on improving standards.
In January, Wal-Mart began sharing its new standards with all toy suppliers – before the production of new orders began. These new safety requirements and guidelines for material content in toy products, and testing, will impact all new toys and toy re-orders.
"We know national legislation is pending, but toy orders for this year are taking place, which prompted the need for us to provide suppliers guidance now,” said Laura Phillips, vice president of Toys, Wal-Mart. “We believe these new requirements help move all toy suppliers in the right direction, even as legislation is still evolving.
Phillips continued to state that “our customers expect no less from Wal-Mart than to be an advocate for value, and for safety. We will take action now, knowing there are changes to come, so there will be quicker compliance in the future.”
Wal-Mart new toy safety guidelines include these main areas:
1.) Testing requirements for all toys have increased.
As of March 2008, Wal-Mart will require independent lab tests and documentation that all new toys and toy re-orders meet Wal-Mart’s guidelines. This is a continuation of independent lab testing requirements that Wal-Mart began with its Toy Safety Net efforts last fall.
2.) New standards on heavy metals, including lead.
Wal-Mart is requiring all toy suppliers for all new toy orders and re-orders to adhere to a maximum level of 90 ppm total lead in surface coatings on toys, down from a current limit of 600 ppm, and a maximum level of 600 ppm total lead in accessible components of a toy.
3.) New guidelines on Phthalates for toys.
Wal-Mart will require all toy suppliers of new toy orders and re-orders to reduce the level of certain phthalates (compound found in PVC and other substances) in toys to a maximum of 0.1%.
4.) Introduce Date Codes
Wal-Mart strongly recommends suppliers date (or lot) code or stamp toy products, for traceability and date of production.
For all toy products currently on shelves, Wal-Mart suppliers have been required to follow the highest CPSC standards that currently exist, and Illinois statutory law for lead levels – the nation’s toughest standard – in every state.
Toy Safety Net Program Announced Last August, 2007
Before the beginning of the 2007 holiday shopping season, Wal-Mart further enhanced its testing and toy safety program, covering five main areas:
• More Checking – Wal-Mart asked all toy suppliers to re-submit testing documentation for toys currently on Wal-Mart shelves or on their way to stores. And with more testing than ever being done by toy suppliers, that reassured customers that Wal-Mart has the most up-to-date information about the toys on its shelves.
• More Testing - Wal-Mart engaged leading independent laboratories to carry out an average of 200 additional tests each day. Priority testing was given to those toys for children up to the age of three, including toys that can easily end up in a child’s mouth. This also covers toys with a surface coating and/or containing magnets. The testing complements current toy manufacturers’ efforts and ensures all suppliers – whatever their size –have access to the best testing available at a reasonable cost.
• More Dialogue – Wal-Mart ensured the results of its tests were shared with the whole industry – retailers and manufacturers. It played a full part in building consumer confidence through groups such as the Toy Industry Association (TIA). Wal-Mart is cooperating with the TIA in supporting new measures aimed at ensuring higher safety standards.
• More help for China – Wal-Mart also stands ready to help leaders in China who are implementing new testing procedures to ensure the highest safety standards for toy products.
• More Selection - Wal-Mart will continue to identify and work with toy manufacturers from all across the world on finding new toy products for its shelves and providing parents with greater choice.
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