A Blog devoted to progressive politics, environmental issues, LGBT issues, social justice, workers' rights, womens' rights, and, most importantly, Cats.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Health - Consumer Alert

Hasbro Inc., the second-largest maker of children's toys after Mattel, has announced that it will take steps to ensure the safety of its products.
As Hasbro looks to beat industrial malfeasance to the punch, it said its toys will undergo a rigorous testing process similar to the "three-point" check system Mattel disclosed on Tuesday, after the company recalled millions of toys due to lead paint and hazards from small, powerful magnets that can cause serious internal injuries if swallowed.
Why it's doing this after, rather than before, the fact should be clear. Profit is the main motivator of any company doing business. And if children's health and safety is your main motivator, then you need to exercise as much oversight as possible.

Become a well-informed consumer, and a savvy parent. Reduce the number of toys your kids receive - it's only going to end up in landfill in a few years anyway - and the fewer toys they get, the less exposure they incur to harmful substances. Buy wisely and well. Eschew cheap crap made in China, and press your legislators to find ways to protect your children, the environment, and the Chinese workers who slave for hours in return for crappy wages and substandard work conditions. Support your handcrafted American toys and toymakers who comply with safety standards.

I've heard parents say, "What can I do? She demands 'Dora the Explorer'." Well, how did she learn about Dora the Explorer? Sticking your kids in front of the TV because you're "too busy" to spend time with them means giving advertisers complete access to their developing minds and tastes. reproduces the abstract from the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine at the preceding link.

Meanwhile the number of toys recalled by Mattel alone has now reached over 18 million.

No word yet on the plan to dispose of the contaminated toys.
Amid the lack of clarity, many parents are confused about how to dispose of the toys. That may mean many toys will end up in the trash and eventually in landfills, where they could leach toxins into the groundwater.

The most alarming in a series of toy recalls this summer has been the recall of toys covered with lead-based paint. Children who ingest lead-laced paint can suffer brain damage, and improper disposal of lead-based paint can damage the environment.

Many retailers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. are offering the option of returning the recalled toys to stores, where they are sent back to the makers.

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