Others of you who yesterday heard the Terry Gross interview with Mark Shapiro from the Center for Investigative Reporting and author of Exposed: the Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What’s at Stake for American Power may also be wondering about this.
The whole interview was interesting (or possibly terrifying for parents), but what may have surprised many was when Shapiro pointed out that the EU is now a bigger consumer market than the US and as a consequence has more political (social and business) clout than the US in China and elsewhere in the world. And, that people who live under EU laws (and here and here) have greater consumer protections than we do in the US. Toys are safer and food is safer. It was only partly in jest that Shapiro recommended that parents buy “plastic” toys abroad rather than in the US (one among many reasons is that phthalates have been banned in the EU countries but not in the US and China makes phthalate-free plastics for the EU).
See also the AP story in today’s Oregonian (11/27/07) EU Pushes China on product safety) by Audra Ang.
Is this a legal research teachable moment? Look up your state and federal laws that protect consumers (aka people, children, parents, human beings) from products made with unsafe or toxic materials. Then compare them with the protections granted residents of the EU.