Sadly, our aptitude for eating all the wrong things sometimes leads to tragedy -- and not just on the scale. Several years ago, a small boy died after swallowing a lead-infused charm given away with Reebok children's footwear. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission subsequently identified many other potentially toxic pieces of children's jewelry, with labels ranging from Juicy Couture to Twentieth Century Fox. Amidst the bold headlines, the recall of nearly a million tainted toys by Mattel alone, and a diplomatic dustup with China over its export of unsafe products, a desire for additional protective legislation was formed. Last year, Congress responded with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.
Luckily there are dedicated souls out there who live and breathe product safety rules and international trade laws. And so it was that your favorite law prof spent several extremely informative and surprisingly entertaining hours during Fashion Week listening to David Callet and Robert Stang, both of the Greenberg Traurig law firm, and Louann Spirito of SGS, a consumer products testing company, review the latest developments involving CPSIA and the fashion industry, as well as a glimpse of what's next on the safety and sustainability horizon.
Who knew that Fall 2009's ubiquitous metal studs could cause such nightmares if they were to be translated into children's wear -- or that the fate of an entire shipment could get caught in the teeth of an untested rogue zipper? Tailors to the 12-and-under set, beware.