27 November 2009

Don't put lead-based toys under that tree!

With the holiday shopping season now in full swing, several toys and other children's products containing illegal levels of lead and other toxic chemicals have found their way into U.S. stores waiting to be placed under your holiday tree (and later into your child's mouth). This is despite regulations that had been strengthened in response to the discovery of excess lead in thousands of toys from China over the past several years.

This alarming news came in a new report called "Trouble in Toyland" by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG).

The report also revealed the presence of choking hazards, dangerously loud toys, and other threats.

I blame two related factors:

1. The trend over the past decades of Washington being too lenient on corporations that are just out to make a profit despite the effects on the people.

2. The outsourcing in recent decades of so many American jobs to sweatshops in China and elsewhere, where regulations are even more lax.

Products made in sweatshops by child slaves cost the companies a lot less money to produce. Lower production costs = lower prices to consumers. However, you get what you pay for. Not worth it, folks.

So what is a shopper to do?

If your own job has not yet been outsourced to Asia, and you can afford to shop for children's products this holiday season, U.S. PIRG provides some safe shopping tips at www.toysafety.mobi.

Good luck, and safe shopping!

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