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article imageTop German toymaker drops US market over lead-testing Act

By Adriana Stuijt     Jan 16, 2009 in Business
Citing the increased cost of doing business under the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, top German wooden toy maker Selecta Spielzeug has ended distribution of its playthings in the United States.German toys often have high educational value.
Europlay Corporation, the US distributor for both Selecta Spielzeug and doll maker Käthe Kruse, says that meeting CPSIA’s new standards would have forced a 50% increase in Selecta’s product prices.
And that would have priced them out of the US market. For background on this law, see and also see
Selecta says all its products comply with the very strict European EN71 and ASTM standards.
Its decision to exit the US market, the company stressed, “is based solely on costs; there have not been any issues with successfully completing the testing and certification process.” German toys are much-prized in Europe for their high educational value as well as their excellence in design, as the above video of a Meglev toy train from a Dresden firm - and which runs on superconductivity, illustrates. US children would never be allowed to handle such an advanced train set under the new CPSIA.
“Selecta would like to thank the 1,200 US retailers carrying Selecta products and regrets the necessity of this decision,” said Matthias Menzel, Selecta Spielzeug’s managing director, in Germany.
Among the higher costs Selecta said were associated with meeting the CPSIA’s new guidelines were those related to testing procedures for products shipped to the US that are “different than the testing procedures required for the rest of the world."
This would require separate testing for each product destined for the US; new shipment labeling regulations that “significantly increases the labor associated with shipping”; and product liability insurance increases "due to changing regulations and their varied interpretations."
Europlay, which also manufacturers eco-friendly outdoor exercise gyms and eco-mulch for children's gardens, says it will continue to distribute its Käthe Kruse studio-doll products in the US.
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