Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Backlash on Toys Made in China...

Thomas the Tank toys are popular in our household. "Choo-Choo" is often heard coming out of Hunter's mouth, and I was a wee bit cross that I had to take some toys away from Hunter because of lead contamination.

Then, Mattel came out with their extensive recall. Fisher Price toys, "Cars" Character toys, Polly Pocket toys, Dora and Diego toys, Sesame Street Character toys, Batman toys, Barbie toys...

Wait ... did you hear about the bibs being recalled by WalMart? How about the ones being recalled by Toys R Us? Guess what I've thrown away?

And, let's not forget about the massive dog-food recall, and the toothpaste recall.

Then, there's the investigative report ABC came out with that said that most hoses contain extremely high levels of lead (a stabilizing agent used in the PVC when making hoses). We've replaced our hoses with marine hoses that specifically say "safe for drinking." They are made of a medical-grade vinyl which does not contain lead.

Where does it stop?

"Nearly 1-in-3 Moms Surveyed Say They Will Not Buy Any Products from China According to a Poll From Online Toy Retailer eBeanstalk.com"


"Nearly 1-in-3 Moms" -- 1/3 of moms across the nation -- will not buy ANY products from China (not just toys). That's a lot of households in America! That's a lot of lost income for China.

Recently, I participated in this survey for eBeanstalk.com, and I must say that when I read the results, I was surprised that so many moms felt the same way I do... more than just leery about the quality of merchandise they are getting from China. After all, no one wants to give their child a loaded gun, do they? So, why would we hand them a "loaded toy?" Okay, maybe that was a bit severe, but the safety and well-being of my child is so important to me and my husband, and it really upsets me the more I think of the unsafe manufacturing practices by overseas manufacturer's, and the lax followup by the toy giants once the toys are back in America and ready to go out to the toy stores, sales shelves, your home, and the hands and mouth of your child.

It almost makes me want to go out and get a lead test and test all of Hunter's toys. AND, it makes me want to throw away all items that are made in Asia. The frustrating thing is ... it's not just the cheap dollar store toys that are made in China! It's Mattel! Fisher Price! Thomas the Tank (which are very expensive)!

I, for one, will have my eyes open wide when I shop for Hunter's birthday presents (October) and for Christmas, and you can bet that I'll lovingly encourage my extended family to do the same, although, I doubt I'll have to, because they are all so concerned about safety anyway.

One thing that will make it easier for me is that eBeanstalk.com has a commitment to their consumers:

"Given the scope of all products from all categories that come from China, we as retailers, must be stronger advocates for our customers and not just rely on the manufacturers", says Brian Gordon, co-founder of eBeanstalk. "First, we are working with all of our manufactures to ensure all safety steps have been made in the manufacturing process. If we are not satisfied, we remove the manufacturer from our site. Second, we lead-test all the toys ourselves. And third, we are offering free lead testing of any toy from any retailer that is brought into our store." Adds Gordon, "We recognize the seriousness of moms’ concerns and are trying to be proactive and helpful. I’m a new parent too, and I know when it comes to your child’s safety and health you never compromise."

Brian Gordon, co-founder of eBeanstalk

I URGE you to go over to eBeanstalk.com -- check out the results of the survey, and more importantly, check out their toys (they have great gift kits, too!).

Also, here is a website where you can get lead tests to test your toys, etc.

So, what are your feelings on this? What will you be doing to ensure your child's health and safety? Will you boycott purchasing products/toys made in China/Asia? Do you think you'll test the toys? Do you think you'll throw away toys made in China?

I'm not trying to sound like Chicken Little, or all gloom and doom... so, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Leave them in the comments or leave a link to your own post. Please remember ... this is not an opportunity to "bash Chinese or Asian manufacturers."

By the way ... NONE of the recalled toys from Mattel or Fisher Price have ever been sold at eBeanstalk. NOT ONE. Thought you might want to know!


Susanne said...

This whole issue makes me so angry. Mostly at Mattel. Why do they not have quality control going on right at the manufacturing plants. Why is not reps from their company right at the source? Why should it be that the toys are shipped to the States before they are even checked out? If they are even checked.

Crawling back in my hole now before I take over your comment section.

Jami said...

Wow.. thank you for telling us about ebeanstalk!! I'll definitely have to look into them! It makes me so mad that all of these toys and things are contaminated with lead... it's not an easy thing to take your child's most beloved toys away and forget trying to explain to a 2 year old why! ha That's a joke... they don't understand. Grrr.. >:( Thank you for bringing light to this subject!!!

Carrie said...

I totally agree. Thankfully, all we lost was one Dora out of a kids' meal and one Polly Pocket out of the deal. My ban on toys with batteries is paying off! :-)

Thought you might enjoy this article on the subject--http://angrychicken.typepad.com/angry_chicken/2007/08/not-made-in-chi.html

Heading to eBeanstalk to browse now!

Mike said...

Two nights ago, I threw all toys that may have lead paint or have magnets on them (no matter how big or small).

That's close to a third of all the toys my 4-year old and 2-year old owns. (OK. I admit. I took the liberty ... err, excuse to throw toys that were broken.)

Fortunately, I didn't hear any complain from my 4-year old or 2-year old.

"Wow, Daddy," my 4-year old said. "Now we have the whole wide world space to buy new toys!"



Sandy said...

Hi Gi Bee -- I did read about those bibs. And I must say your website is so very helpful!
Good job, girl!
Thanks for all the help today (you know I needed it!)

Anonymous said...

My first reaction when this all came out was, "If you can't trust Mattel or Fisher Price, then who can you trust?" How many cheap toys do we have in the house that are a potential danger. I did "panic" a bit. I was sure my 3 yr. old was showing signs of lead poisoning since he had some of the Mattel toys and puts everything in his mouth. I took him and my 1 yr. old to the Doctor and discussed it with him. Together we decided that the kids were fine and the signs I was seeing were not lead related. I have thought about testing the toys. I have started getting rid of many toys as well. I have thought about boycotting China made products. My son LOVES legos right now. The larger ones do not stay together and he gets so frustrated and guess what, they are made in China. I don't know if I will throw them out. I did teach my son this little phrase (which my dad used to say when I was a kid) "Things made in China are not made well and don't work". I am so angry at the companies that outsource their business oversees because it is cheaper. Well now we, the customers, are seeing why and are paying the true price for that. Like my dad try to instill in me, "Buy things that are American made, they are just a better product. They are made to last". Sorry for the rant. I am done now. Oh, one more thing, where did you find a "marine hose" that is safe for drinking?
Yard Sale Princess

Amydeanne said...

I read about the recall, missed the ones on bibs, but haven't bought any in a while so I think we're okay.. weird part I watched a show that was asking the Chinese what they thought about it and they just said people were over reaacting... are we? I don't think so.. we consume too much as it is.
anyhow lovely blog!

Dionna said...

I think a lot of people are getting fed up. It feels like nothing is safe anymore. I'm afraid to eat, drink, and buy merchandise because it could make my family sick - or kill them!

Splaneyo said...

I just found your blog and waned to thank you for the link. It really is a challenge to find things that have not been made in China these days.