Gettin’ What You Pay For

Today, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Marvel Toys announced a voluntary recall of Curious George Plush Dolls Apparently, the surface paint on the toy’s plastic face and construction hat contain excessive levels of lead, which violates the federal lead paint standard.

Yesterday, there was another recall of Chinese-made toys, but this time it was not because of lead. Scientists found the toy beads included in the Aqua Dots set contain a chemical that converts into a powerful “date rape” drug when ingested.

The recalls are largely the result of the Chinese crack-down on toy factories – all triggered by reports of dangerous or faulty exports, including toys tainted with lead, toothpaste laden with an antifreeze ingredient, and pet food fortified with an industrial chemical.

How naive would you have to be to think China’s failure to meet US Safety Regulations is something new? In all likelihood, China has never consistently met US regulations and our children have been licking lead-based paint from their brightly-colored toys for decades.  The difference between then and now – the media is paying attention. As a result, toy manufacturers, who are concerned about product liability, are paying attention. The Chinese government, who is concerned about their export market, is paying attention – hence the “crackdown” and other efforts, such as you know maybe executing some people to straighten out their safety issues.

Meanwhile, American people are having a typical reaction.

“We’re all going to buy goods that are Made in America and nothing else!”

Riiight.  U.S. consumers love cheap goods. As long as the prices are low, we will keep trading quality for cost.  So, how long do you think this will last before it fizzles – again?

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