From China With Love

From China With DANGER
What can be done to protect American children from lead jewelry? The American government regulatory agencies are unable to prevent the unnecessary exposure of youngsters to the hazards of lead in their environment.

In 2005, 95 percent of all recalled toxic jewelry in the United States were products imported from China. Unlike the toxic pet food, tainted toothpaste, faulty tires and lead-painted toys from China that have been sucessfully recalled, getting the lead filled children’s jewelry and trinkets out the hands of children has not been resolved. And it isn’t only fly-by-night, mom and pop manufacturers who have been sending these hazardous trinkets into American nurseries; it is the big names like Mattel, Juicy Couture and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Purchasers are not safe from lead even when buying non metal toys. The 746,621 “bonus charms” in a Shirley Temple DVD were contaminated with lead. Last year a 4-year-old in Minneapolis, swallowed a “free” heart-shaped lead charm that had come with Reebok shoes. He died after suffering vomiting, seizures and respiratory arrest. The Minneapolis health official who investigated said: “It’s just outrageous. How can we be allowing products that are targeted and marketed to children that have such a potential to poison them?

Get the Lead Out!

Various enforcement standards specifying what percentage of lead is allowed in this imported product or that imported product have been announced, however the same governement agencies doing the “announcing” are unable to enforce the tauted standards. For whatever reason, considering an outright formal ban on lead in children’s jewelry, toys and clothing fasteners seems to be unacceptable to them.

Many letters have been sent to the product safety commission urging the immediacy of just such a ban. Only one letter has been found to oppose the ban and it is dated March 2007, from the government of China:

Jewelry with lead is not a danger, Guo LiSheng, a deputy director general at China’s General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, wrote in a March letter to the commission, as long as it is covered by a protective coating. The regulation, he argued, was unnecessary and would “increase the cost of producing and inspection of the manufacturers of children’s metal jewelry, and bring unnecessary obstacles to trade.

Heaven forbid, that we increase the cost of any children’s trinkets just to get the lead out. Since neither the government of the United States, nor the government of China are giving children’s safety much priority, American parents are on their own if they want to prevent the ingesting of toxic materials by their young charges. Stop buying these dangerous trinkets from abroad. Be more vigilent – buy fewer of the more expensive and safer toys for children. When it comes to kids, cheaper is not necessarily better.

New York Times: Bid to Root Out Lead Trinkets Falters in U.S.

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