News Release

* “Born to Buy” * Toxic Toys

JULIET SCHOR
Chair and professor of Sociology at Boston College, Schor is author most recently of Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture. Her past books include The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure and The Overspent American: Upscaling, Downshifting and the New Consumer.

MARK SCHAPIRO
Reuters reports: “The California attorney general and Los Angeles city attorney filed a lawsuit on Monday against 20 companies accusing them of manufacturing or selling toys with unlawfully high levels of lead.”

Schapiro wrote the recent piece “Toxic Toys” and the book Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products. He said today: “The current focus on Chinese imports obscures the deep responsibility of U.S. regulatory authorities in permitting toxins such as lead into the country to begin with. Another important aspect to this controversy: the array of consumer products that are perfectly legal to import into the U.S., but which many other countries — in step with the European Union — are banning from use in cosmetics, toys, electronics and other consumer products due to their toxicity.

“In the big picture, while the U.S. retreats from environmental protection, much of the world is moving forward — again, led by the EU, which in 2005 became the world’s largest single market. The power that comes with the EU’s economic heft radiates through the global economy — leaving the United States isolated in its unwillingness to actively protect the health of its citizens and the environment. The pressure to sell into Europe’s market means that some Americans are becoming the accidental beneficiaries of environmental protection laws passed in Brussels (over which they have no input); while, at the same time, the U.S. is becoming a dumping ground for toxic products banned elsewhere in the world.”

Schapiro is editorial director of the Center for Investigative Reporting, based in California. His latest book is the just-published What’s at Stake for American Power.
More Information

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167.