Maybe you've seen on TV or read about the giant toy recall from China, lead content being one of the major issues. It's not a new thing, but this one has been particularly big:
Mattel's announcement that it was recalling 1.5 million toys could force a reexamination of how the $22 billion toy industry is overseen by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which largely relies on companies to report problems themselves, consumer groups, analysts and lawmakers said yesterday.
Like the 1.5 million Thomas and Friends trains and accessories recalled by RC2 Corp. in June, the Chinese-manufactured toys in this recall contained too much lead, Mattel said.
Here's what I didn't know:
About 80 percent of the toys bought in the United States and about 65 percent of Mattel's toys are made in China, according to the Toy Industry Association and the company. "Toys were one of the first consumer products to go to China in a big, big way," said M. Eric Johnson, a management professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, who has studied the trend.
Maybe you've been reading the fine print on your kids' toys, but I haven't. I've never been a big stickler for avoiding toys from a certain country or for boycotting every toy company who does business with a totalitarian state. But for some reason this figure alarms me, not only because China isn't known for having the highest scruples in their production, but also because their current trade surplus is in the stratosphere, and toys must be putting them in another galaxy!
I have no huge solutions or recommendations, except this one: go read The Longenblog.