Tuesday, May 29, 2007

British agency warns about dangerous toys

Tying in nicely to what I just wrote about China's reliance on our exports, as well as my commentary over the weekend about shoddy consumer goods comes this warning from England's consumer watchdog.

BBC.com: Chinese warning over toy safety
More than 20% of Chinese-made toys and baby clothes are below standard, the country's consumer watchdog has said.
An investigation by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine found some were even dangerous, Beijing News said.
Industrial waste, including dirty carpet fluff, paper and used instant noodle packaging, was found in some toys, the newspaper reported.
Some baby clothes contained harmful chemicals, the investigation found.
"These fluffy toys with bacteria or even viruses in them could cause children to itch if they touch them for a short time, or even cause disease over the long term," Beijing News said.
It said some toys had parts which could be broken off and swallowed.
Safety tests
China is the world's largest exporter of toys.
The US and the European Union - which have safety standards regulations - have complained about the quality of Chinese-made toys.
About half of all goods withdrawn from sale in the EU in 2006 were Chinese, according to figures from the European Commission.
China's state news agency, Xinhua, has reported that China will ban the sale of toys that fail to pass a national compulsory safety certification beginning from 1 June.
Toys that "could have a direct effect on the safety of babies and children" will have to bear the mark CCC (China Compulsory Certification) before they can be sold in China, according to a statement issued by the country's consumer watchdog.
China has been facing persistent consumer and food safety problems.
In 2004, China punished 97 government officials over the sale of fake milk powder with no nutritional value that caused the deaths of at least 13 babies in the eastern province of Anhui.
In recent months there have been complaints in the US about pet deaths from tainted wheat gluten and rice protein imported from China.

The sky may not be falling, but Chinese manufacturers need to come to grips with the notion of quality control.

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Flatland Pastor said...

One of North America's first exports into the Chinese marketplace was McDonald's. Please excuse their confusion regarding our seemingly ambivalent attitude towards quality in consumer goods.

Anonymous said...

Not just quality control, they might also consider leaving out noxious things like lead (frequently found in Chinese-made jewellery and other artifacts for children). Recent articles in WSJ and elsewhere about the effect of demands, particularly from one retailer, for ever cheaper production, do not tend to make one believe this is going to change any time soon.