The Extractor vs Fisher Price

Not only is my sister Laura a Non-toxic Ninja Mommy, she’s also earned the title of The Extractor around here.  Laura’s the one who works behind the scenes to gather much of the information for the safer product lists we share with you.

Laura’s most recent foray into the often secretive world of manufacturing involved a stand-off with the notorious Fisher Price.  I asked her to share this story with you because it perfectly illustrates what we parents go through to get basic information about the products we buy for our children.

The Extractor vs Fisher Price, Laura’s Experience

I called Fisher Price (again) to ask about a specific product’s materials. Specifically, I wanted to know what type of plastic was used in their children’s booster chairs. It was the only question I had and they gave me the same answer as usual, “Our ingredients are proprietary, and we can give you no further information.” So I decided to push a little, and was given the same line at least five more times. Then I asked to speak with the supervisor and the operator I was speaking with was happy to accommodate me :)

I waited on hold for a good ten minutes before the supervisor finally picked up. I explained the question once again and of course, I was told the same thing, “Our ingredients are proprietary.” She also told me that the call center employees aren’t given any other information, so there was no way she could provide me with the answer I was looking for. I went ahead and pushed a little harder, explaining that consumers don’t appreciate it when a company refuses to disclose simple details like this, and that it will cause them to lose business if it hasn’t already (we at TSL have been trying to get information from Fisher Price since 2007).

I explained my product research job at TSL and told her that we never recommend companies that won’t cooperate in providing pertinent information.  I also made it very clear that we were not looking to replicate any of their products.    After nearly an hour of going back and forth with a call center operator and two supervisors, I was finally told that Fisher Price doesn’t use BPA in any of their food contact products.  I thought it was amazing how they gained access to this information suddenly!

Happy Dance or More Frustration?

So Fisher Price finally decided let loose a bit of information.  While it’s a start, we want more.  We expect more from a company like Fisher Price – which reminds me of Safe Mama’s call to boycott in 2008:

Fisher Price, we’re afraid, is being a bully and assuming we’ll all continue to buy their products and get over it. Sorry Fisher Price… until you start giving parents what they need to feel comfortable buying your products, we just won’t buy them.

So here we are three years later and we still have no clue as to the plastic they’re using. It’s time for parents to take away the tired, old “proprietary” excuse by diverting our dollars to transparent companies. No more hiding behind an angelic smile, hoping that we’ll eventually be quiet and go away.

Photo Source: iStockPhoto

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  • Mphin278

    I’m passing it on! I’ve already boycotted :)

  • Mommy Is Green

    Go Laura! It is so frustrating to contact these companies. They can’t say what kind of plastic they use?! Come on! The whole proprietary excuse is nonsense. As you pointed out, we just want to know if it’s safe. I’m definitely not planning on trying to make a booster chair myself.

  • boo

    They have no need to change their ways. There are PLENTY of parents who are ignorant of the health concerns and others who just don’t care. It is very sad. I have had my share of unpleasant conversations with fisher-price. But unless they feel a loss economically, I don’t think they will change. Any chance we can get the whole country to ban their products?

  • navanavanava

    I haven’t bought ANY of their products because of that fact!! Plus how their stacker toy leaks inks in babies’ mouths and they 1) claim it doesn’t happen 2) whatever it is, is safe (yeah right!).

  • Sabrina

    Boycotting manufacturers is an excellent way to vote with dollars. If enough moms pass the word, they’ll start to feel it. Also, writing letters to retailers to let them know you won’t be buying products with mysterious ingredients will send a powerful  message. There will be no Fisher Price toys in my household, and my mothers’ environmental health discussion group will be hearing all about why! Thanks!

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