View Full Version : Another recall linked to China...the surprise? It's for Fisher-Price toys.
1st August 2007, 04:32 PM
WASHINGTON - Toy-maker Fisher-Price is recalling 83 types of toys — including the popular Big Bird, Elmo, Dora and Diego characters — because their paint contains excessive amounts of lead.
The worldwide recall being announced Thursday involves 967,000 plastic preschool toys made by a Chinese vendor and sold in the United States between May and August. It is the latest in a wave of recalls that has heightened global concern about the safety of Chinese-made products.
The recall is the first for Fisher-Price Inc. and parent company Mattel Inc. involving lead paint. It is the largest for Mattel since 1998 when Fisher-Price had to yank about 10 million Power Wheels from toy stores.
The recall follows another high-profile move from toy maker RC2 Corp., which in June voluntarily recalled 1.5 million wooden railroad toys and set parts from its Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway product line. The company said that the surface paint on certain toys and parts made in China between January 2005 and April 2006 contain lead, affecting 26 components and 23 retailers...
According to the story, Fisher-Price was able to prevent 2/3 of the toys from even making it onto store shelves. I guess the good news is that they caught it?
1st August 2007, 05:00 PM
Is this a new trend in products produced in China or something that is only now being scrutinized.
2nd August 2007, 12:01 AM
Yeah, like there hasn't been lead issues before.
China becoming threat = and yet, another bad guy
2nd August 2007, 12:02 AM
I did appreciate their picture friendly recall list.........we dodged that bullet.
2nd August 2007, 08:37 AM
Would the lead from any particular toy really be dangerous? How much lead did a kid have to eat in the "bad old days" of lead-based wall paint, before it had an effect? (Or was it just lead in the environment from touching it, or touching stuff that touched it, or breathing it, if lead fumes slowly leached out?)
Not saying it shouldn't be cleared up, but I'm just curious.
2nd August 2007, 08:59 AM
As someone living and doing business in China -- it is great to see this happening. Far too many Western companies have come to China purely for the purpose of saving money on parts and labor. Inevitably, a significant number of these go for whatever company offers them the lowest price; they rarely or never check out the factories that are actually making these products (or if they check them out initially, fail to monitor them regularly).
Factories that use child labor. Factories that use sub-standard products and materials. It is all too common here.
The ironic aspect of this is that almost all reputable Chinese companies stopped using these factories a long time ago; it is the foreign companies, focusing on saving a buck, that are keeping them in business.
And it is sooooo easy to trick these foreign companies. They come trotting into China, having read the book-of-the-moment about "How to do Business in China", and certain that they are savvy, experienced businessmen who know their way around a business negotiation. They spend a few months meeting different people, get treated to huge, spectacular dinners, and get offered contracts that give them everything they want, and more.
They leave China shaking their heads at the "poor suckers" who don't know how to "get things done" in China.
Meanwhile, before the ink on the contract is even dried, the Chinese supplier is already sending excuses as to why certain provisions in the contract 'are no longer relevant due to unforeseen developments'. The 'model factory' that the foreign businessman was taken to is turned off, and all the work is actually done in a sweatshop in some rural village. The materials that were supposed to be used are substituted and swapped freely, under the assumption that "by the time they find out, it'll already be in the U.S."
And the saddest thing about all of this? It is entirely avoidable. I myself have been a consultant on such issues for many years; there are other individuals and companies here that provide services that will effectively eliminate almost all of these problems, and guarantee high quality products at a reasonable price.
So why don't these companies take advantage of this? Is it possible they just don't know about it? Nope...I've talked to plenty of them personally, explaining all of these problems. It is a combination of arrogance -- "It may happen to others, but it won't happen to me" (despite the fact he's only been in China a few months) -- and greed.
It is, in fact, remarkably similar to the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy in regards to homosexuals. These companies are in China for one reason -- to make money. And in all too many cases, there is a complicit understanding between the foreign company and the Chinese supplier/manufacturer that they don't really care how the product is made, as long as they can save a lot of money...so if there's anything we shouldn't know about it, please don't tell us.
Now, to be fair, in the case of Fisher-Price, I think it was a case more of ignorance or hubris that led to this situation; I don't think they were intentionally ignoring such problems just to save money. But there are plenty of other companies here that do just that.
2nd August 2007, 02:47 PM
As someone living and doing business in China -- it is great to see this happening. ...Wow. Thanks for the insight, Wolfman!
The Central Scrutinizer
2nd August 2007, 02:50 PM
We should bomb that country.
Wolfman, get out now!!!
2nd August 2007, 02:59 PM
It is like the increase in shark attacks.... or wait, was it just an increase in the number of shark attacks hyped on tv?
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