We want to apologize again for comparing our test results with federal standards that are based on a different testing method.
We realize this was a mistake and I’m writing to tell you about the steps we have taken to correct this. We are announcing new protocols today for strengthening our testing procedures.
December 8, 2009 — San Francisco — GoodGuide, which provides health, environment and social responsibility ratings for consumer products, announced today that it has implemented new protocols to enhance testing of consumer products.
“GoodGuide remains steadfast in its commitment to be the most trusted source of information on the health, environmental and social impacts of the products we buy,” said Dara O’Rourke, the company’s co-founder. “These new protocols reflect our belief in complete transparency and our goal of continually improving the way we operate.”
- All test results of consumer products performed by GoodGuide which indicate a violation of federal standards will be sent to certified laboratories for independent verification. The vast majority of product tests reviewed by GoodGuide are conducted by independent laboratories or third party organizations.
- Test methodologies will match U.S. or European government standards whenever results are compared to regulated levels.
- If tests conducted by GoodGuide or an independent laboratory indicate the presence of chemicals above regulatory standards, GoodGuide will raise these issues with the appropriate government agency.
GoodGuide released test results on December 4, 2009 that showed that certain popular holiday toys contained levels of antimony and chromium that exceeded federal standards. Two days later, GoodGuide learned that it had used a testing methodology that was different than the one used to determine the federal standards. In keeping with its commitment to transparency, GoodGuide announced this fact on its website the same day and in a press release the following morning, December 7.
“It was inappropriate to compare our results to federal standards because we used a different testing methodology. Our new protocols are designed to ensure that this does not happen again,” said O’Rourke, who is also an associate professor of Environmental and Labor Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. “We apologize for any confusion and inconvenience that we may have caused consumers who have come to rely on GoodGuide for expert advice on the safety of toys and other products.”
GoodGuide’s testing involved a precise methodology that is used by industry and federal agencies, including the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency. The test measured chemical levels with a Thermo Scientific NITON XL3t series X-ray fluorescence analyzer, which is designed to detect total chemical elements on the surface of a material, including toys. The testing procedure for establishing federal standards uses a different method in which materials are tested for their soluble metals content.
One of the toys cited in the results published by GoodGuide on December 5 was the popular Zhu Zhu Pet Hamster, Mr. Squiggles. GoodGuide is referring all questions about the safety of the toy to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Because of the differing methodologies used to test the toy, GoodGuide has removed from its website the product review of the Zhu Zhu Pet Hamster, Mr. Squiggles, pending additional testing. The company also removed reviews of the other toys that were cited in the results published on December 4.