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Toy Recalls in China

an absolutely frightening NYT report by LOUISE STORY and DAVID BARBOZA about toy recalls in China

“If I went down the shelves of Wal-Mart and tested everything, I’m going to find serious problems,” said Sean McGowan, managing director and the toy analyst at Wedbush Morgan Securities. “The idea that Mattel — with its high standards — has a bigger problem than everybody else is laughable. If we don’t see an increase of recalls in this industry, then it’s a case of denial.”

“If Mattel, with all of its emphasis on quality and testing, found such a widespread problem, what do you think is happening in the rest of the toy industry, in the apparel industry and even in the low-end electronics industry?” said S. Prakash Sethi, a professor at Baruch College, part of the City University of New York, who has acted as an independent monitor of working conditions in Mattel’s factories for the last 10 years. “Everyone is going to be found with lots of dirty laundry.”

(Here’s a list of lead-contaminated toys).

I shop fairly regularly at Walmart (so hate me). I always knew that labor practices there were suspect, but I never realized the extent of the safety problems. It’s definitely a case of culture clash and China’s failure to understand international quality standards.  The problem is that China doesn’t really have consumer advocates or reporters–where the hell would they publish? How quickly would they be sent to jail?

That’s one reason my city has to be thankful for consumer crusaders such as Marvin Zindler 

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