America’s last toy tester has left the building

So long, Bob. He was the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s longtime toy tester and as the WaPo’s Annys Shin puts it, “the man who unwittingly became a symbol of the nation’s underfunded product safety system.” Bob, a.k.a. Robert L. Hundemer, retired on Thursday and was profiled in Shin’s story, “Goodbye to Bob” in today’s Washington Post.

In the midst of last year’s toy recalls, Hundemer, an engineering technician with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, became known as the nation’s sole full-time toy tester, referred to in speeches and news accounts only by his first name, “Bob.”

Unfortunately, no matter how diligent Bob’s work was for the CPSC over the last 25 years, he was no match for the flood of bad toys coming to the U.S. from overseas. A recent Public Citizen report pinned much of the blame for the dangerous toys on the decision of U.S. toy manufacturers to shift their production offshore.

Read the report: Santa’s Sweatshop: “Made in D.C.” with Bad Trade Policy.