Toxic Chinese Products

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In March 2007 public and media concern resulted in widespread media coverage of toxic Chinese products. Reviewing the furor, Associated Press wrote that "dog and cat deaths in North America were linked to a Chinese-made pet food ingredient. Then came reports of potentially dangerous frozen fish, juice, tires and toothpaste. Millions of toys were recalled in several countries over lead paint and other fears. The crisis put China's position as the world's factory at risk, threatening the underpinning of its economic success and the jobs that are lifting millions of Chinese out of poverty."[1]

U.S. Regulators Criticized

After "several highly publicized recalls of Chinese-made toys that contained hazardous levels of lead," the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) came under increased scrutiny. "Critics have long charged that the agency has become too close to regulated industries, opting for 'voluntary' standards and repeatedly choosing not to take legal action against businesses that refuse to recall dangerous products." Perhaps it's because CPSC officials were traveling on industry's dime. Records obtained by the Washington Post "document nearly 30 trips since 2002 by the agency's acting chairman, Nancy Nord, and the previous chairman, Hal Stratton, that were paid for in full or in part by trade associations or manufacturers. ... Some of the trips were sponsored by lobbying groups and lawyers representing the makers of products linked to consumer hazards." CPSC said their ethics officers had OK'd the trips, after conducting "a full conflict-of-interest analysis." But several other agencies, including the Federal Communications Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission and Food and Drug Administration, ban travel paid for by regulated companies.[2]

Articles and Resources


  1. Audra Ang, China Tries Unsafe Product Crackdown", Associated Press, January 6, 2008.
  2. Elizabeth Williamson, "Industries Paid for Top Regulators' Travel: Two Heads of Product Safety Agency Accepted Trips From Manufacturer Groups", 'Washington Post, November 2, 2007.

External Resources on Product Recalls

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Mattel Statements, Testimony and Articles

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