Many of you may be aware of this already – wooden toy maker Selecta, a German company that designs and manufactures in Germany had ended distribution of its toys in the US market in December, 2008. Meeting the new US CPSIA standards would have required an increase in the cost of Selecta’s prices by at least 50 percent, Selecta’s US distributor says, effectively pricing them out of the US market.
We were quite sad when we received that news from our distributor, as we truly love Selecta’s innovative yet classic designs and high quality workmanship. We especially like the thermal printing process they use for printing pictures on wooden blocks and game pieces, as well as these wooden books and slightly bigger versions of them. Not only are the colors vibrant and vivid, the thermal printing makes the picture last a very long time. To top it off, Selecta uses natural beeswax to seal it so it’s saliva and scratch resistant, able to stand the test of babies/toddlers play.
The whole CPSIA just does not make sense: European toy testing standards and requirements have always been higher than the American testing standards, and yet that isn’t good enough for CPSIA requirements. The new law is in the right direction of making toys and products safer for children, but the unintended consequences of putting reputable manufacturers out of the market is really bad lawmaking. It is probably not what lawmakers and activists wanted. The extreme irony is that, these reputable toy makers were ones consumers sought after when the Toy Recall of 2007 exploded. We were secretly hoping that the 1-yr enforcement stay issued by the CPSC would extend Selecta’s export by 1-year as well, but that isn’t the case, as confirmed by the distributor.
Once our current Selecta inventory runs out, we will no longer be able to get additional shipments. These are truly Limited Editions, at least in the US market.