Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Another day, another recall

Will someone please get the government off Chinese manufacturers' back? The Los Angeles Times explains the recent trend:
First it was tens of millions of containers of pet food recalled because of tainted ingredients from China; then it was 1.5 million of the popular Thomas & Friends wood trains, made in China, recalled for lead paint.

Two weeks ago, El Segundo-based Mattel Inc., one of the most trusted names in playthings, jolted consumers with warnings that 1.5 million of its Chinese-made Fisher-Price toys also could contain lead paint.

And on Tuesday, Mattel recalled more than 18 million more toys worldwide because of new worries about lead paint and, because of design problems, magnets that can come loose and cause serious health problems if swallowed.
Parental responsibility is the answer here, clearly. Responsible parents teach their children not to put things in their mouths. It's not toy manufacturers' job. Business Week explains that while Mattel works hard to ensure product safety, even a minimum of parental responsibility could minimize ingestion risks:
Not all recalls are due to suppliers cutting corners. In the case of the recalled magnetic toys, technology advanced faster than toymakers' perceived risk. Mattel's quality guru Walter noted in an interview with BusinessWeek in late July that the company puts products through rigorous stress tests. The industry didn't anticipate, however, that if two or more of the high-powered magnets were ingested at once they could close off the intestines of small children. In newer versions of the toys the magnets will be locked into the products in such a way that a child cannot break them free.
See, parents? Keep your child from ingesting more than one magnet and there's no problem.

Just now on NPR, a Mattel spokesperson noted that each year the multinational has many recalls, so this one, while regretable, is nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing to see here, folks, move along.

Nothing a tax cut wouldn't solve.

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