When is a plaything not just a toy?

When it comes to strict federal rules governing defective products, or at least that is what groups of U.S. manufacturers are hoping.

The New York Times reports that the Consumer Products Safety Commission has been swamped with requests from manufacturers looking to exempt their goods from new regulations placed on "children products."

Washington gave the safety commission greater authority over child products as a result of an influx of tainted toy imports from China in 2007.

But adults buy footballs and Halloween costumes for their own use, too. And middle aged men, not kids, are the prime buyers of model trains, the Times reports.

For the commission, it has posed a conundrum that -- so far -- has prevented it from defining exactly what makes a plaything.

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