Prime Line CEO Rick Brenner Says Industry Efforts at Product Safety and Compliance Must Go Beyond "Children's Products"
In an online blog entitled, "What Matters Most Is Protecting Your Customer," Rick Brenner, CEO of Prime Line, Bridgeport, Conn., and a leading authority on industry product safety issues, contends that distributors should protect their clients' most valuable asset—the logo going on the product—by only selling products that comply with CPSIA limits for lead and phthalates. This is regardless of whether or not a product is technically considered a children's product and is especially important if the product in question may be used by children of any age.
According to CPSC's definition of a children's product, "If a product appeals mostly to young children, it's a children's product. If the same product appeals to everyone, even if it's going to be used by young children, it's considered a general use product," Brenner explained. Children's products have to comply with CPSIA; general use products do not.
"But is it a good thing that certain products can be sold for use by young children without having to comply with child safety laws? Not for the promotional products industry," he said. "The risk is too great."
Brenner, a candidate for PPAI's Board of Directors, poses these questions to distributors: "If a product is going to be used by children—a general use product that is to be used by all ages—how would it play in the press if it was revealed that the product was full of lead or cadmium or phthalates? What embarrassment could that cause your customer if it became viral or on the web or, heaven forbid, the subject of a Keith Morrison expose on Dateline? Can you imagine the phone call you would get asking how you could have put the company in that position?"
"Large corporations are risk averse. It wouldn't take too many high-profile fiascos for these businesses to decide that promotional products are too risky. Insist that all products you sell—and particularly those for which children may be involved—are compliant with the new 100 ppm lead standard and all other applicable provisions of the CPSIA," Brenner advised.