Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A Million China-Made Toys Laced with Lead

It looks like parents need to add “Lead in Toys” to their “Threats to My Child’s Health” lists. And no, this isn’t some obscure, generic-knockoff toy manufacturer. Fisher-Price is at the center of the latest scare.

According to an AP report, “Toy-maker Fisher-Price is recalling 83 types of toys - including the popular Big Bird, Elmo, Dora and Diego characters - because their paint contains excessive amounts of lead.”

The US government considers toys with greater than .06 percent lead “accessible to users” as dangerous. But no word is yet available on how much was accessible through cute, cuddly pals like Big Bird and Dora.

This is the first time Fischer-Price, or parent company Mattel, have conducted a recall because of lead. And this is a big one. At least 967,000 toys are on their way back to the manufacturer. I wonder what they’re going to do with all of them? What’s the socially, environmentally responsible way to dispose of

As you may have guessed, a “Chinese vendor” is to blame. And it’s particularly embarrassing for Fischer-Price, which is “considered a role model in the toy industry for how it operates in China.”

In case you haven’t been keeping up with the news, products manufactured in China have had a rough year. Everything from tires (
450,000 of them in June) to pet food (the largest recall in history occurred earlier this year) have been recalled this year because of faulty manufacturing in China.

How bad are China’s quality control woes? In May,
the head of China’s food and drug administration was put to death for taking bribes. The payoffs led to the approval of drugs that caused at least 10 deaths.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.