I am a knitter. Knitting teaches patience and is a great way to pass time on an airplane. While traveling, I missed a recent CPSC recall and am thankful to my friend Lenore Skenazy, the author of the blog Free Range Kids, for bringing to my attention important information about a silent killer—yarn. Since she said it better than I could, the following is from her blog post:
Gracious me! This brand of yarn can unravel! Have you ever heard of such a thing? It’s just too scary! How irresponsible can a yarn maker be? No wonder the Consumer Product Safety Commission just issued this dire warning:
Name of Product: Bernat Tizzy Yarn
Hazard: In finished knit or crochet items, the yarn can unravel or snag and form a loop, posing an entanglement hazard to young children.
Incidents/Injuries: Bernat has received two reports of children becoming entangled from unraveling or snagging yarn blankets. No injuries have been reported.
Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the yarn or finished yarn projects, keep them out of the reach of young children, and contact Bernat for a full refund.
Remember! Children are only safe near items that can never unravel or make a loop. Kindly avoid all necklaces, ponytails, jumbo rubber bands, snakes, shoelaces, licorice whips, octopi, thread, phone cords, scarves, kites, jump ropes, taffy (long form), fishing line, string cheese, and, of course, marionettes. – L.
What is the agency thinking? While unraveling yarn may be a quality problem (for the company to address with unhappy customers), turning a quality problem into a safety issue takes the agency way outside its mandate.
In an earlier post I addressed my concern that silly recalls can serve to make consumers stop listening. This certainly qualifies as a silly recall. Consumer safety is not advanced by such a result. However, if the agency persists in pushing its mandate so that product quality problems are viewed as safety issues warranting a recall, what unravels is any predictable definition of a safety hazard and then safety becomes what the agency says it is at any given time. Now that is a snag folks should be worried about.