Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Toy Recall Frenzy 2007!

OK, so it seems like every day another horrible report of a toy recall comes in. It was bad enough that millions of toys were recalled due to excessive lead content, but then a surreal report comes in that SpinMaster's Aqua Dots beads, when injested, actually can break down into the date rape drug GHB. (For a fascinating article on the discovery of how this chemical was in the beads, check out this article in the New York Times - registration required. To avoid registering, check out bugmenot.com)

All this can scare the bejeezus out of people when faced with the upcoming holiday gift-giving season. People have been coming into Mitchell's looking for toys "not made in China." Sadly, that's a difficult thing to come by these days. In an age when people don't wanna pay more than $6.37 for a Barbie, manufacturers have been forced to outsource toy manufacturing to China - where wages are tiny compared to US wages. Unfortunately, outsourcing to China means you lose control of how your toy is finally made and what goes into it. Don't get me wrong, many (if not most) toy manufacturers have representatives in China checking into the manufacturing process all along the way. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that just because it's made in China, it's a bad toy.

What can you do to be safe? You can keep abreast of recalls by visiting the Consumer Products Safety Commission webpage at www.cpsc.gov. While there, you can subscribe to their e-mail list to be automatically notified of any recalls.

Also, the people over at the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio have released a list of toys they have tested and found to not have lead. The lists are here.

Very few toys today are made in the USA. The one's we carry include Lunastix juggling sticks, Slinky and Roy Toy construction toys (like Tinker Toys). Some, like Playmobil, are made in Europe.

Rest assured, at Mitchell's, we pull all recalled toys immediately. We've also posted recall noticed on toys we've carried to alert you of the recall. At this point, the only toys we've carried that were included in the recall were selected Thomas the Tank Engine toys and several Schylling Toys.

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