The recall of toys and other cheap Chinese goods continues. The Latest casualty?

SpongeBob Square Pants address books and notebooks.

This is just the latest scare is that certain toys and jewelry have been found to have high levels of lead in them. This is not much of a danger sitting in a drawer, but could harm children who tend to put everything in their mouth and try to eat things. I also worry about improper disposal of the items leading to high lead contaminating the environment, but that is outside my area of expertise.

HERE is a summary of the recalls:

The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) issued four separate recalls today for lead-tainted children’s products. This is the third time this month that the CPSC recalled items because of a lead hazard. As in the case of all the previous recalls, these items were manufactured in China. The latest recalls encompass children’s jewelry sets, pails and tops featuring characters from Curious George and Thomas the Tank Engine, and journals picturing scenes from the TV show SpongeBob SquarePants.

Last week, Mattel, Inc. issued a toy recall that included 436,000 die-cast metal cars that that were manufactured with lead paint. Earlier this month, Mattel’s Fisher-Price unit recalled over a million Chinese-made toys because of the same lead hazard.

Here in the Philippines, there is a big worry that these items will be dumped on the market. Yes, there are laws against such things to protect the public, but bribes and smuggling is common to make a profit, and poor people are not going to worry about lead when they can’t afford higher priced items.

Acute lead poisoning, (lead encephalopathy) has become rare with the elimination of lead based paint (I haven’t seen a case since the 1960’s), but we still see mild lead toxicity causing hyperactivity and lower IQ. But lead is now screened in young children in many states., and the elimination of lead gasoline has probably helped decrease the problem in inner city children.

Screening is needed, since the symptoms, especially in mild cases, are something found in normal kids: irritability,learning problems,  constipation, loss of appetite..

The lesson of all of this is to remember that third world countries don’t necessarily follow the laws, and the strict safety procedures are not necessarily followed.

Something to remember before your company outsources it’s business.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living  in the rural Philippines. Her website is FInest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket. 


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