Toy Recall


The CPSC has announced a recall of 12 million drinking glasses sold at McDonald’s restaurants over the last couple of months, according to a story in the New York Times.  The glasses were a part of the promotion of the new movie Shrek Forever, which came out in May.  The glasses feature different characters from the movie and contain cadmium. 

Cadmium is a known carcinogen and can induce several types of cancer. Industrial exposures to cadmium can cause metal fume fever in workers and can progress to pneumonitis, pulmonary edema and even death.  Long term cadmium exposures have been shown to cause kidney disease and softening of the bones.  In the case of the Shrek glasses, children could receive long-term exposures from using the glasses on a daily basis.  Recently, cadmium was found in metal jewelry manufactured in China and sold at various retailers such as Wal-Mart and Claires. 

China continues to bombard our children with dangerous chemicals, from many different sources.  The CPSC needs to be vigilant about this and the lead problems in products coming from China.  Our children’s future health depends on it.

Story on Bloomberg.com reportsMattel has agreed with the CPSC to pay a $2.3 million fine for importing toys containing dangerous levels of lead.  The fine relates to 95 of the company’s toy models, including Barbie toys and “Cars” toys. 

The CPSC reported that Mattel imported 900,000 toys between September 2006 and August 2007 that violated lead standards.  These products were imported from China.  As a result of these findings, Mattel recalled more than 21 million toys made in China, after they were found to contain high levels of lead or dangerous designs.

The lead situation is not the only problem related to Chinese imports.  As reported here, there have been recent recalls of dangerous Chinese milk products and medical products.

The CPSC issued a recall on State Farm Good Neigh Bears, a promotional item given away by State Farm agents and at State Farm events from September 2005 to March 2007.  It is estimated 800,000 of these bears were given away during this time period.  The bears pose a choking hazard to young children, as the plastic eyes can come off and lodge in a child’s throat.

Of course, the bears were made in China.  Consumers are requested to throw the bears away.

The CPSC has issued a warning regarding Simplicity 3-in-1 and 4-in-1 Convertible “Close Sleeper” model bassinets.  The CPSC has received reports of two infants strangling to death in the metal bars on the bassinet.  One death occurred in September of 2007 and one happened in August 2008. 

Simplicity Inc. was recently purchased by SFCA, Inc., which has refused to issue a recall of the product, because it claims to have no responsibility for products produced by Simplicity, Inc. before the purchase.  The CPSC voted, using its new authorities in the recently passed Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, to release this warning upon making a finding that public health and safety requires immediate notice.  The CPSC urges all consumers to share this safety warning with day care centers, consignment stores, family and friends to ensure that no child is placed to sleep in one of the Simplicity convertible bassinets covered under this warning.

The CSPC announced a recall on Electra “Amsterdam” model bicycles.  The interior alignment tabs of the bicycle’s chainguard can push against the chain, causing the chain to derail.  This can pose a serious risk of injury to riders.  Amsterdam model bicycles in the Classic 3, Original 3, Royal 8, and Sport 3 styles are involved in the recall.  The bikes were sold nationwide from January 2007 through June 2008 for between $400 and $850 at authorized Electra dealers.  This is the second Electra bike recall.  The total number of bikes involved in both recalls tops 10,000.  Electra has received a report of injuries related to this defect.

According to an article in the Washington Post, the Senate approved a new bill that would remove toxic chemicals from toys and put new enforcement measures in place to ensure hazardous products don’t make it to the marketplace.  The bill bans lead from kid’s products and toys, and also bans dangerous phthalates, such as diisononyl phthalate (DINP) from use in infant and toddler products.  Phthalates are a type of chemical used in soft plastics which are used to make products including teethers and pacifiers.

The bill will require toymakers to send their products to indepedent labs for testing before the products hit the marketplace.  The bill also restricts the use of earth magnets in toys, a practice that has caused serious injuries to children over the past several years, including a death. 

The give the law teeth, the bill will double funding for the CPSC, the government agency charged with policing products and pulling dangerous products from the market.  In the wake of the toy recalls of the past several years, the CPSC has increasingly come under scrutiny as ineffective and slow to act.  The law authorizes state attorney generals to help the CPSC enforce the federal product safety laws, and they will be able to take manufacturers who bring dangerous products into the marketplace to court, to take dangerous products out of the stream of commerce.

The bill provides for steeper penalties for manufacturers who violate the new safety laws.  The new fines go as high as $15 million, where the old fines topped out at $1.8 million.  It is hoped the new measures will ease the minds of parents who have in recent years been hammered by product recall after product recall.

According to a report on the Age.com.au, remote control cars containing asbestos parts and manufactured in China, were sold on E-Bay to consumers in Australia.  The E-Bay seller, Topwincn, apparently advertised the cars as containing “super thick asbestos brake blocks”. 

According to E-Bay’s records, Australian consumers purchased several of the asbestos-containing cars.  E-Bay claimed the asbestos containing products were removed from the website when they were notified the toys might contain asbestos.  A spokesman for E-Bay stated: “eBay has a zero tolerance for illegal items and (has) sophisticated systems in place and people working to pick up and remove these sorts of items”. 

The models that included asbestos include:  4WD Speed Sonic 2005 RC Car Model 94102; HSP Atomic Warhead Nitro Buggy Models 94105 and 94106; 2007 Hi-Speed Nitro/Gas Tyrannosaurus Monster Truck Model 94108; Gas Powered RC Car Model Frc-10; Gas Powered 4WD RC Truck Model Frc-08.

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