Recalled Chinese products

I’m having a rough day. Forgive the light posting; this is about all I can handle for now.

Have you all been following the recalls of toy products (and tires and toothpaste) made in China?

Industry analysts said Mattel’s woes are part of a much larger problem. “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.”

I’m sure I’m not the only person who thought this would be good news for domestic producers but still, it hadn’t touched us. Yet. Then today, the New York Times published Some Baby Bibs Said to Contain Levels of Lead.

Certain vinyl baby bibs sold at Toys “R” Us stores appear to be contaminated with lead, laboratory tests have shown, making the inexpensive bibs another example of a made-in-China product that may be a health hazard to children.

Honestly, I’d never thought that apparel producers would have to test their products for lead. I’d be interested in hearing if any of the children’s products producers are doing any kind of formalized lab testing. Are your stores asking about lab testing? Also, do you think the recalling of Chinese made products will affect consumer demand for your products? Have you seen an increase in inquiries and sales? Inquiring minds want to know…

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  1. Esther says:

    Vinyl is a troublesome fabric, especially since the lead is released as the vinyl deteriorates. Makes you wonder about rain coats, hats, boots, and upholstery applications. I think this problem will give a boost to natural and organic products.

    Most testing labs are set-up to test for lead in painted metal – such as painted zippers, zipper pulls, snaps, etc. Many private label programs currently require those items be tested.

  2. bethany says:

    How had the China recall affected me?

    I was at Target yesterday shopping for backpacks and I thought I would peruse the toy isles. As I strolled through the isles I saw a beam of light shine down from the heavens and light up the holy grail of CARS, cars: the Chick Hicks! (For those not in the know, Chick Hicks is a character from the movie Cars)He was hanging there like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow and next to him was none other then Doc Hudson (another character from Cars). My son has been begging for both of those characters for months and here they were, ripe for the plucking. I grabbed the toys and made a mad dash for the check out- palms sweaty, eyes blurry I was soooo excited to have found these cars and couldnt wait to show them to my son.

    And then it happened: when the toys were scanned a warning came up and they confiscated my cars!!! I was one day too late. NOOOOOOOOOOO! I begged and pleaded, to no avail. The cars were taken away to be dumped in an overfilled landfill, leaking the tiny molecules of iron into our water where my kids will drink it anyway.

    Damn you China! I shake my fist at you!

    So close, so terribly close to Mother of the Year.

  3. Lisa Bloodgood says:

    Holy Cow! And I still need to get my stepson something for his 8th birthday on Friday! Aaarrrggghhh!

    Is this just as bad as the whole recent melamine-in-pet-food scandal?

    Get with the program, China!!!!!! Yeesh!!!

  4. Ayanna says:

    Is it any wonder why China has such low costs to produce product(s) with their use of sub-standard imitations and contaminated materials. I have been saying for a while that I was only going to purchase “Made in the U.S.A.”.

  5. Angelia says:

    I makes me crazy when you here all the talking head experts, worry and fret about how to get China to inspect more and upgrade their products. It never seems to occur to them that maybe some of things that we use in our lives, including our food, should be produced in our own country. I own a small regional artisan boutique and represent a couple of handcrafted toy makers (wood and fabric)as well as independent textile and clothing designers. The best customers are the more wealthy, many of the locals (rural south east Virginia), just run over to Wal-Mart and get the “cheap” stuff. It is so hard for our society to see the big picture. Now, people have been put in the situation of not having any other options
    they either don’t have the money or other American made products are not available.
    I stop ranting now.

  6. M Bunny says:

    We’ve been thinking about this quite a lot lately. Everything we sell is designed and made in the US, but many of the fabrics we get seem to be made in China (some are also from India.)

    We’d been thinkning about doing more with PVC, but now we may have to rethink that. Poo.

    (However, in response to “mother of the year” above – is this sarcasm, or did you really intend to give your kids toys with unsafe levels of lead – which has been proven to make kids stupid?!)

  7. MW says:

    Boy, Kathleen, I’m glad this is a topic because honestly… it’s ticking me off that we’re blaming it on China when (IMO) the REAL problem is certain low price retailers demanding such marveously low prices. We cannot continue to want dollar tee shirts and two dollar toys and have no adverse effect in the supply chain, especially since labor costs in China are increasing. I think it’s ridiculous to blame these factories when the retailers put pressure on the manufacturers, who put pressures on the factories, to meet these low, low, low price points.

    Do I think the problem is *made in China*, no I think the problem is our insatiable demand for cheap goods. Everything has a price, directly or indirectly. And when we want cheap, cheap, cheap, sacrifices will be made. And countries with different ethical standards will make different sacrifices. And you could move all the production home but if you keep demanding low prices… well a sacrifice will have to be made somewhere.

  8. Lisa NYC says:

    In my past sewing life (LOL) I did make and sell tons of boutique baby bibs…I had always thought those vinyl bibs were tacky (no a fan of character clothing) and luckily, so did many of my cusotmers.

    But I have to agree with the above poster re: the U.S. consumers wanting cheap goods. A bib at Toys R Us costs less than $2, while a custom embroidered fabric big (sometimes with a chenille backing) costs between $12 and $22.

    Such news as this lead story can only help increase sales of boutique bibs some of my friends still produce. I definitely will be sharing this article with them. Thanks for the info!

    With friendship,

  9. bethany says:

    In regards to giving toys to my kids with unsafe levels of lead:

    If you read the newspaper carefully, those toys in particular are being recalled ‘just in case’ they have lead. Nothing has been proven yet. It is in my opinion (and those of experts) that this is just a witch hunt. Frankly my kids would have to actually EAT the car for it to do any harm.

    That is why I find this recall frusterating: Those toys have to go somewhere- probably to dumps and more toys will be made to take their place. Such a waste for ‘precautions’. Look, kids are being harmed by eating meat more then by playing with some cars.

  10. Benita says:

    Kathleen, so glad you put this topic up and I agree that it is not only China’s fault but the onus is also on the consumer and the corporations. If there were no demand for all these cheap goodies there would be no need for these manufacturers to “cut costs” somewhere either in materials and or with labour. I design and make clothes for a living, and the general public has no concept about the real cost of making things. There are a few out there, but most people don’t understand what ‘hand made’ means and think if a department store can sell something for cheap why can’t you…

  11. Connie says:

    Bethany. Take this seriously. Very seriously. Lead poisoning is no joke.

    Lead replaces the iron in the body and the brain will not get the oxygen it needs. The body has NO way to rid itself of lead (or excess iron for that matter). Because chidren are small,the effects of small amounts are more quickly and acutely displayed. After the toothpaste deaths and the pet food deaths, all toys with even a chance of having lead paint in them should absolutely be recalled and tested.

  12. bethany says:

    I believe any poisoning is no joke. However, there has been no cases of lead poisoning from these toys. They are being recalled because there is a tiny possibility the paint might have lead in it.

    What I am saying is, my children have a much better chance of dying while driving in a car(short term) or eating meat (long term). The chance of any of these recalled toys actually being harmful is almost nonexsistent. Like I said before, the paint would have to be injested in much larger quantities then what is on the toys right now. I can see everyone reading this shaking their heads and ‘tut-tuting’ me, but this recall is just a precaution and a bogus one at that. Mattel just doesnt want to get sued.

  13. Vesta says:

    We have all of our components tested for lead and other toxins and heavy metals – plastic parts, metal parts, everything. Not because of this mess, but because we deal with kids. We use a large international company with locations worldwide (SGS). They audit and certify the sewing facilities, too. Don’t take anyone’s word for anything!

  14. Johnny says:

    I live in China these years so I guess I just have to use the products that I can get. That sucks.

    Unfortunately even employees in foreign owned certification companies have been known to take bribes and recently a high-level official approving medication has been sentenced to death after taking bribes for what turned out to be a deadly drug.

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