Sue DeRagon, 49, runs toy testing for Connecticut-based STR, one of the industry's leading third-party labs.
"Our phones have literally been ringing off the hook. The Mattel recalls opened people's eyes. Current clients are increasing their standards, and new clients are realizing that they can't just rely on what vendors are telling them. Federal regulations do not mandate that you test toys for safety. It's only mandatory that the product is safe. There is no government agency that checks that. There is no official safety seal as there is in Europe and even in China for the toys sold domestically.
I was a little surprised by the recalls. Toy safety requirements, including lead-paint regulations, have been in place for a long time. The problem is, there's a big supply chain in making toys. And it's hard to control something on the other side of the world."
A version of this article appeared in the December 2007 issue of Fast Company magazine.