Free Kick for Clothing and Footwear Front Group

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which was passed in the wake of controversy over the manufacturing standards of Chinese toy companies, set new lead limits for toys, clothes and other products which are aimed at children under 12. Associated Press reports that the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Childrenswear -- which it states "represents manufacturers and family business workers" -- is leading the protests against the new standards. The small print at the foot of the coalition's website identifies the American Apparel and Footwear Association as the group's sponsor. However, none of the group's media releases -- issued by Trey Ditto from Rubenstein Associates -- contain a similar disclosure. The news stories in Google's News Index referring to the coalition also don't disclose that the association is its sponsor. Members of the association include companies such as Liz Claiborne, Michelin Footwear and Phillips-Van Heusen.


The Coalition for Safe and Affordable Children's Wear is also supported by the National Association of Manufacturers, a lobbying group that has worked against strengthening laws for labor and unions - an irony when you consider they organized workers to protest the CPSC amendment on lead and phthalates. Phthalate manufacturers Exxon Mobile and Dow Chemical have members on NAM's board, and a Dow subsidyl is a member of the Coalition parent organization, American Apparel and Footwear Association. It is a safe bet that the workers demonstrating against this protection for kids aren't aware that workers exposed to lead and phthalates when making products with them suffer from exposure related illness, too.