WASHINGTON – In the latest scare involving products imported from China, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled millions of toys believed to contain dangerous amounts of lead paint.
The biggest single recall by the CPSC this month was for 1.5 million Thomas and Friends wooden railway toys containing lead paint that poses special hazards to children.
The toys are wooden vehicles, buildings and other parts for a train set that bears the logo “Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway” in the top left-hand corner of the package.
The toys that could contain poisonous amounts of lead in their surface paint are:
- Red James Engine & Red James’ # 5 Coal Tender.
- Red Lights & Sounds James Engine & Red James’ #5 Lights & Sounds Coal Tender.
- James with Team Colors Engine & James with Team Colors #5 Coal Tender.
- Red Skarloey Engine.
- Brown & Yellow Old Slow Coach.
- Red Hook & Ladder Truck & Red Water Tanker Truck.
- Red Musical Caboose.
- Red Sodor Line Caboose.
- Red Coal Car labeled “2006 Day Out With Thomas” on the Side.
- Red Baggage Car.
- Red Holiday Caboose.
- Red “Sodor Mail” Car.
- Red Fire Brigade Truck.
- Red Fire Brigade Train.
- Deluxe Sodor Fire Station.
- Red Coal Car.
- Yellow Box Car.
- Red Stop Sign.
- Yellow Railroad Crossing Sign.
- Yellow “Sodor Cargo Company” Cargo Piece.
- Smelting Yard.
- Ice Cream Factory.
The toys have been sold throughout the U.S. and Canada since the beginning of 2005 and sell for between $10 and $70.
As WND reported earlier this month, Chinese products have been under special scrutiny since the pet food scandal that left an estimated 39,000 American cats and dogs dead and injured in its wake. Imports from China were recalled by the CPSC twice as often as products made everywhere else in the world, including the U.S., a WND study of government 2007 reports shows.
Among the hundreds of Chinese imports recalled this year are:
- Portable baby swings that entrap youngsters, resulting in 60 reports of cuts, bruises and abrasions;
- Swimming pool ladders that break, resulting in 127 reports of injuries, including leg lacerations requiring up to 21 stitches, five reports of bone fractures, two back injuries, two reports of torn ligaments and eight sprained ankles;
- Faulty baby carriers that result in babies falling out and getting bruised, getting skulls cracked and hospitalizations;
- Easy-Bake Ovens that trap children’s fingers in openings, resulting in burns;
- Oscillating tower fans whose faulty wiring results in fires, burns and smoke inhalation injuries;
- Exploding air pumps that have resulted in 13 lacerations including six facial injuries and one to the eye;
- Bargain-priced oil-filled electric heaters, selling for less than $50, that burn down homes;
- Notebook computer batteries that burn up computers, cause other property damage and burn users;
- Circular saws with faulty blade guards that result in cutting users, not wood.
It’s the latest blow to Chinese imports, which have been hit in recent days for poisoning America’s pets, risking America’s human food supply and reintroducing lead poisoning to America’s children.
Other Chinese products recalled in the last week include:
- 19,000 Butterfly Necklaces whose metal clasp contains high levels of lead. The recalled necklaces consist of a multi-colored butterfly pendant on a multi-colored seed bead 16-inch necklace. The product’s packaging includes a white hang card with “GeoJewelry” printed on the front underneath “GeoCentral.”
- 5,300 “Accessories” Silver Stud Earring Sets also containing high levels of lead. The earrings are oval-shaped, silver-colored studs. “Accessories” is printed on the front of the earrings’ packaging. Kmart is printed on the back.
- 43,100 Children’s Party Hats whose foil fringe glued to the bottom edge of the party hats can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.
- 1,900 Pine Peak Blues Children’s Jackets whose zipper pull can detach posing a choking hazard. The jackets were sold in infant, toddler and youth sizes. They are navy-colored and long-sleeved. They have a zipper-front with the flag of England embroidered on the left shoulder and an “England” patch on the left chest. There are two zipper front pockets in addition to the zipper front. “Pine Peak Blues” is printed on a label inside the jacket. They were sold exclusively at Nordstrom stores.
- 1,800 Calypso Sandals whose jewel decorations can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.The recall affects Nordstrom brand sandals sold in toddler and little girl’s sizes. The Calypso-style shoes are tan and white with gold straps that have three jeweled flowers on the top. “Nordstrom” and a flower pattern are embossed on the upper sole of the shoes. Toddler sizes were sold with an ankle strap.
- 5,500 Red Baby Long Johns whose metal snaps can loosen and detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.
And, just in time for Independence Day, the first Chinese-made fireworks have been recalled. The warning is over 13,000 300 Shot Saturn Missiles Battery Fireworks that the CPSC says can travel in unexpected and dangerous directions, posing special hazards to eyes and bystanders. In addition, the CPSC recalled about 4,000 500 gram mine/shell devices considered unstable and posing burn and other injury hazards.
Most fireworks purchased in the U.S. for July 4 celebrations are manufactured in China.
Last month, which was “National Electrical Safety Month,” the commission noted the proliferation of “dangerous counterfeit electrical products,” many of which come from China, that pose serious risk to life and limb.
The CPSC noted the market is saturated with counterfeit circuit breaker, power strips, extension cords, batteries and holiday lights that are causing fires, explosions, shocks and electrocutions.
“Many counterfeit products are made in China and CPSC is actively working with the Chinese government to reduce the number of unsafe products that are exported to the United States,” said the alert issued in May.
The agency suggests that if the price of such an item seems to be too good to be true, it could be because the product is an inferior or unsafe counterfeit.
You might think an attractive, normal-looking table lamp would be safe. But 1,500 manufactured in China had to be recalled because of faulty light sockets that posed the risk of electrical shocks and fire hazards.
Or how about emergency lights that look just like other emergency lights but whose circuit board malfunctions, preventing illumination during emergencies? The CPSC recalled 3,200 of those last month.
And be careful which heated massaging recliners you relax in. If you chose of the 1,700 manufactured in China and recalled by the commission last month, you might have found yourself medium rare because of an overheating and burn hazard discovered.
Even the simplest, most inexpensive items from China seem to pose massive risks. About 2,700 $12 pine cone candles had to be recalled when it was determined the exterior coating, not just the wick, caught fire.
The problem is Americans see a cheap electrical power strip with a circuit breaker and assume it does what it is supposed to do. That is not the case with many Chinese counterfeits. They are not only counterfeits in the sense of improperly using brand names, they are actually counterfeits in the sense of pretending to do something they were never intended to do.
But big problems occur when an over-taxed power strip doesn’t trip a circuit. Fires can occur. Property can be damaged. People can be killed.
Likewise, when Americans buy attractive-looking glassware at a bargain price, they might ask themselves: “How can I go wrong?”
Pier 1 Imports found out when 180,000 pieces of glassware were ordered recalled by the CPSC because the items broke for no apparent reason, sometimes cutting the hands of those holding them.
How could one go wrong purchasing an attractive kitchen stool engraved with a rooster on the seat? After all, it was only $30. Well, several people found out when the stools collapsed, even under the weight of small children.
You might want to think twice before entrusting your child to something as simple as a crib made in China. For years, American manufacturers scrupulously lived up to the exacting safety standards imposed by agencies like the CPSC. Not so with Chinese manufacturers.
Some 40,000 cribs had to be recalled when it was discovered directions instruction consumers to assemble them in ways that would result in the baby falling out and becoming entrapped. Additionally, locking pins on the side of the crib could pop off and cause a choking hazard.
About 450,000 infant car seat carriers manufactured in China had to be recalled when it was determined infants were falling out because of a faulty design. The Evenflo Co., which imported the carriers from China, received 679 reports of the handle on the car seat releasing for no reason, resulting in 160 injuries to children, including a skull fracture, two concussions and cuts and bruises.
American manufacturers also adapted years ago to requirements that products designed for young children avoid small parts that could result in choking accidents. But, again, based on a survey of recalls in the first six months of 2007, this seems to be a foreign concept among Chinese companies.
Even books for young children have been found to contain plastic squeaker toys that have become lodged in babies’ throats and metal clips that break off, potentially injuring kids.
Graco received 137 reports of infants mouthing, chewing and sometimes choking on tiny pieces of its soft blocks tower toys imported from China. At least 32 infants were found gagging on the pieces and 49 choked on the plastic covering. In all, 40,000 had to be recalled.
A slew of Chinese exports recently have been banned or turned away by U.S. inspectors, including wheat gluten tainted with the chemical melamine that has been blamed for dog and cat deaths in North America, monkfish that turned out to be toxic pufferfish, drug-laced frozen eel and juice made with unsafe color additives.
As WND reported earlier this month, China, the leading exporter of seafood to the U.S., is raising most of its fish products in water contaminated with raw sewage and compensating by using dangerous drugs and chemicals, many of which are banned by the FDA.
The stunning news followed WND’s report that FDA inspectors report tainted food imports from China are being rejected with increasing frequency because they are filthy, are contaminated with pesticides and tainted with carcinogens, bacteria and banned drugs.
China consistently has topped the list of countries whose products were refused by the FDA – and that list includes many countries, including Mexico and Canada, who export far more food products to the U.S. than China.
While less than half of Asia has access to sewage treatment plants, aquaculture – the raising of seafood products – has become big business on the continent, especially in China.
In China, No. 1 in aquaculture in the world, 3.7 billion tons of sewage is discharged into rivers, lakes and coastal water – some of which are used by the industry. Only 45 percent of China has any sewage-treatment facilities, putting the country behind the rest of Asia.