Monday, September 24, 2007

Another China recall

This is so sad. Over the weekend the local paper reported that a very popular bracelet sold by a small charity for cancer work at a local hospital has been recalled. You cannot walk around my town without seeing these bracelets sold in hair salons and little shops. Women wear them everywhere and they have been given as gifts (one woman told me she bought them for teachers, bus drivers and others as Christmas presents last year). Why were the bracelets recalled?

Because the spacers between the big beads are filled with lead. Even after the Chinese manufacturers promised the charity in writing it did not use lead in producing the spacers.

Apparently a 9-month-old baby had been teething on the bracelet and ingested enough lead to require medical assistance. Don't go blaming the parents for letting the kid gnaw on it. I have certainly used non-traditional items to survive teething.

So toys, lunch bags, and now jewelry to raise funds for cancer research? My kids complained bitterly for years that I wouldn't buy them "character" toys. We have almost no toys based on characters from television shows or movies in the house. And while I wasn't doing it to save them from potential lead-poisoning, it sure made my life easier looking at the list of recalled toys.

But now? I get to say to my kids how I kept them safe from toxic toys. And now the boys themselves check labels to see if something is "Made in China".

They ask me if it is safe.

I don't know. I hate that.


painted maypole said...

this is so frustrating, isn't it? and all the recalls make you wonder how much stuff we have that HASN'T been recalled but should?

Jodi said...

Wow! I'm glad you posted that, I had no idea.

May I ask why no character toys?

Jami said...

ARRRGGGHHH!!! as well as various and sundry other terms of endearment I learned in the Navy!

Heather said...

This is getting really ridiculous. I feel like I need to go through all my stuff and toss anything made in China...which is pretty much everything, isn't it?

chelle said...

At first I was all oh no .. now I am just getting annoyed! It is getting out of control. It took like five recalls before we were hit with something (we do not have a lot of character toys either, mostly dues to not watching all that much television therefore she does not get why they would be so attractive).

soccer mom in denial said...

Maypole - I couldn't agree more. Makes you want to start making toys from twigs in the backyard.

Jodi - I gave you an incredibly long-winded email explanation just now. Anyone else want to hear my rant? Let me know.

Jami - would love to hear/read some of those salty dog words.

Heather - it is ridiculous and a friend who works at a high-end, chi-chi toy store is very frustrated with both the media hype and the fact that over 95% of toys sold in America are made in China.

Chelle - we are strategic in what shows we let the kids watch. If there are lots of "products" involved, we don't watch them. So we're big fans of Zoom, Design Squad, Postcards from Buster, Timewarp Trio and Fetch with Ruff Ruffman.

Goofball said...

hmm the recalls hardly make the news here. They just mention the fact "item xxx with that production data etc has been recalled because ..." and that's it.

What was very much in the news last week though was that Matell stated out loud that the recalls were due to production design mistakes on their side and not the fault of the Chinese at all with a public appology to the Chinese that the media had presented it that way. Now it had been presented as if the chinese did not follow any regulations so we had to distrust all that came from that region.

On the other hand, when we were shopping for a birthday present for my nephew, I did catch myself checking for "made in china" labels though after reading all those worried blogs, which I would have never done before. I did not find as much toys "made in China" as I expected. Seems like the biggest portion of our toys are still produced in Europe and the European safety regulations are more strict than the North-American apparently.
Maybe that's why there is no feeling of stress or panic here in Europe, which I do notice on blogs across the ocean.

...maybe we are still naieve and ignorant in Europe ? maybe not. Not knowing for sure is the hardest thing?

soccer mom in denial said...

Goofball - another issue on this side of the ocean is where the parts or components of an item are made. Here an item can be called "Made in USA" even if the different parts or pieces come from somewhere else.

I was actually staying above all of this fear of all things made in China until I heard about the lunch boxes (and my kids lunch boxes were, yes, made in China) and the bracelets.

jennifer said...

All of this feels really out of control to me. And scary. When I was living in Italy and my kids were a bit younger, the big toy craze was a soft, sparkly ball with glittery liquid inside of it. My kids never actually had one, but I remember when they were recalled because the liquid inside, which obviously could seep or spurt out anytime, was filthy and toxic. It was made in China...

Jami said...

Goof - Mattel apologized to China because they were basically told to do so (by the Chinese govt.) or find another place to make their toys.

SMID - one day you just might hear some.

Jenn said...

Hrmm. I should really do a post about this topic.

Although, the US News does have a constant hot button issue at all times regarding China.

In 6 months it will be something else.

Jen said...

That is, truly, a horror. It's too bad the charity can't hook up with a craft from one of the Ten Thousand Villages network - that might keep things safer. And help two good causes at once!

Alex Elliot said...

I hadn't heard of this either!

CableGirl said...

This is absolutely horrifying. It makes me want to go off an an incredibly long winded tangent about the lack of American interest in buying American products because of a desire for cheap! I will, however, hold myself back.... mostly.

I've been buying only wood toys made in Europe or America of late. Yes, they are more expensive but I firmly believe that kids do not need to have 1000 toys about which they promptly forget as soon as they play with them once. Fewer toys not made in China, that's my rule.

The charity bracelets, however, I'm speechless. How sad. How long will it be before steps are taken to evaluate the content of materials imported into this country?

Sandy said...

Excellent post! It is so sad that we have to worry about anything that is made in China, especially anything that children use.

I will only be buying toys MADE IN THE USA, Canada, or Europe from now on.

Here is a great site if you want to buy American made toys:

Joseph said...

Here is a shirt that says it all about these Chinese recalls.