In a recent press release, the Consumers Union announced that China would no longer use lead paint on any toys that would be shipped to the United States. The U.S. banned lead paint on toys nearly thirty years ago. Press reports state that China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection an dQuarantine (AQSIQ) has said that they will take “immediate action” to stop the use of lead paint.
There have been several toy recalls this year alone. Spurred on by the series of recalls, the U.S. Congress will begin investigations into toy safety. Sally Greenberg, of the Consumers Union, will testify before the Senate Appropriates Subcommittee and emphasis the need to make producers, importers, distributors, and even retailers responsible for the products that are made in China and sold in the U.S.
According to the Consumers Report on Safety, nearly 170 million pieces of children’s jewelry hat have been recalled since 2003 alone! The Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled them because of high levels of lead, and imported from China.
Due to the mounting concerns about lead paint in toys, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) represents America’s largest toymakers announced plans to make toys safer for all children as well. Working with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), they are calling for:
* Federal requirements that would make safety testing and inspection mandatory
* Developing standardized procedures that can be used industry-wide to verify that products comply with U.S. safety standards
* Have independent labs test toys, and certify that toys meet U.S. safety standards
According to reports, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission has recalled over 40 toys just this year. Many were due to lead paint. Last year there were only 33 recalls. The record for recalls was set nearly twenty years ago when 52 toys were recalled.
Parents should keep in mind that while this new proposal should take care of the problem of lead paint, not all of the recalls were caused by lead paint. They can be recalled for a variety of reasons.
Some of the most common reasons for recall are due to poor design. Some toys have magnets that can come off of them or small detachable parts that young children could easily swallow. Others have sharp edges that could cut a child, or long strings hanging from it that could cause strangulation. Batteries can overheat and cause burns.
Inspect toys when they’re brought home. If you’re concerned about safety? Return it immediately.
It’s also a good idea for parents to inspect toys periodically to see if any small parts are loose and could snap off, if batteries seem to be hot to the touch, if paint is beginning to chip off. If any risks are found, it’s better to toss it than risk an injury to your child.