Promotional Products Company Exposed In NBC Dateline Report!
Marc Lifsher, an LA Times staff writer, reported that a Los Angeles company that sold 100,000 lead-tainted lunchboxes to the State Health Department has been ordered to pay a $10 million fine for violating California laws on toxic substances.
The article goes on to state: Environmental activists and legal experts said the default judgment issued Tuesday in San Francisco County Superior Court was the highest they could recall since voters approved Proposition 65 in 1986.
"We are shocked that a company would knowingly sell lead-tainted lunchboxes intended for California's children," said Michael Green, executive director of the Center for Environmental Health, an Oakland-based nonprofit group. "The judgment sends a strong signal that companies that put our children's health at risk will pay the price."
NBC's Keith Morrison covered the story in-depth during an hour-long prime time investigative report that expounded on the product safety concerns regarding custom printed promotional products.
Think I'm making this up? The only thing that is NOT true in this story was NBC covering it on Dateline. Perhaps some of you may recall the widely publicized 2008 Los Angeles Times story we have quoted from. To refresh your memory click here to see the complete article.
Fast-forward to 2011 and things are getting even more challenging in the product safety arena. In today's business environment, the distributor, the shipping company and the family pets would also be included in any litigation. I know, you've heard it all before... but many feel it doesn't really affect them. Think again. If there is a product safety issue with any product, EVERYONE will be liable.
Since this is my "rant" I'll just be frank and say that I think many of us are numb to this issue that threatens our industry... myself included. But I see how this is something that should concern us all. At a recent product presentation by a prominent supplier, the presenter started talking about product safety. He was explaining the steps his company was taking to assure that they were using best practice guidelines in delivering certified safe products. I took note that most in the audience were not too interested in this information. It seemed they wanted to get on to learning more about the "stuff."
Please understand... I don't want to be critical of my colleagues, but I think generally, many are apathetic about product safety. So much is being said that we are tuning out. We just don't see this for the serious threat this is.
I care about my clients and this industry. FreePromoTips will do what we can to raise awareness on this important topic. Back in 2008 we used the picture above to draw attention the whole idea of someone getting hurt using a product. We felt the cheese grater slide was a great image to make this point, but amazingly a few people found it offensive. Click here for comment that noted how offensive they felt it was and the suggestion that the person who approved it should be reprimanded. That would be me. We received over 100 comments on this. Feel free to add yours.
To address this topic, I've called upon one of the experts in the industry, Rick Brenner, the CEO for Prime Line. Rick is a candidate for the PPAI Board of Directors and is passionate about this issue. Is this a problem or opportunity for promotional products distributors?
Rick notes, "In our industry, concern about product safety is an important thing that is going on and a problem that could easily become your opportunity. Ever since the summer of 2007 and those massive recalls of Chinese toys containing too much lead, the world of product safety and regulatory compliance has been turned on its ear. Complicated and sometimes ambiguous laws have been passed at the state and federal level, testing labs have been swamped with new business and corporate America has been put on notice that cheap products imported from China can be risky.
"No shortage of problems here: Complex new product safety regulations sometimes different from state to state, uncertainty and confusion from buyers, an industry scrambling to learn compliance and even the experts trying to wrap their heads around this juggernaut.
"Problems can be golden opportunities for enterprising marketers.
"Corporate America needs promotional products. And because of the risks, because of these problems, they need a knowledgeable and conscientious distributor to guide them, protect them, to act as a fiduciary for their most valuable asset—their good name—to ensure that it only goes on quality products that are safe and compliant and is never put on a product that might cause risk or embarrassment. In short, they need a trusted advisor. You.
"We're a commodity industry. Many of our products can be obtained from a seemingly limitless number of suppliers and distributors. But as a trusted advisor you change the paradigm. Instead of price driven sales, yours are value driven sales. Now, instead of losing business to low-bid competitors your clients often select you without bidding, because they trust you. They understand that you're selecting appropriate products from suppliers with rock-solid compliance programs and that you'll never risk putting their name in harm's way.
"You don't have to be a product safety expert but you do need to learn the basics. PPAI has a broad range of educational materials and webinars to help you get started. If you have questions, send me an email or give me a call. Within a short time you'll learn the issues and be well on your way to becoming a trusted product safety advisor and a very savvy promotional products marketer."
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