To recall or not to recall

Lead has been found in baby bibs made in China, and are the center of a new scandal in the US:

The vinyl bibs, which feature illustrations of baseball bats and soccer balls and Disney's Winnie the Pooh characters, are sold for less than $5 each under store-brand labels, including Especially for Baby and Koala Baby.

Tests this summer, financed by the Center for Environmental Health of Oakland, California, found lead as high as three times the level allowed in paint in several styles of the bibs purchased from both Toys 'R' Us and Babies 'R' Us stores in California.

IHT: Some China-made baby bibs found to contain lead

This time, consumer protection agencies did not even think a recall was necessary, even though lead levels were three times as high as the level allowed in paint. I want to tell parents that it is time to wake up and stop buying this kind of stuff. The grandparents too, they are often the ones who give colourful presents to the kids.

This follows a massive recall earlier this week of 19 million toys also found to contain lead, all made in substandard factories in China. By the way, is anyone thinking of the health of the workers in those factories? Breathing toxic fumes on a daily basis, no doubt without any safety equipment or face masks.

In Japan, the toys' importer, a company ironically called Progress Interactive, said they are recalling the products and will make refunds to customers. It did not say how many toys would be affected in Japan. Toys "R" Us Inc.'s office in Kawasaki said about 50 shops out of the 149 outlets it operates in Japan have removed all the affected products. That is some progress.

Forbes has more details about this mess:

One Japanese retailer said it took other Fisher-Price toys off its shelves as a precaution. "We didn't stock any of the affected products, but we quickly removed other Mattel's Fisher-Price brand items from our shelves until the importer's safety assurance is made," said Masaki Shimizu, a spokesman of Mitsukoshi Ltd., one of the major department stores in Japan.

Forbes: Asia, Europe implement Mattel toy recall

Update: Very interesting article in The Seattle Times that reveals how the current US government and China both have fought tightening rules on lead.


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