Elmo has recalls! Elmo has recalls!
First, I think you should know that I spent two hours at the dentist yesterday, and my teeth have been ground into nubbins and my tiny tiny jaws don’t cotton to being pried open for hours–and now my face, well, it hurts. (Your face hurts? It’s killing us!, laughs the Internet. HA HAHA HA HA AH HAAAAAAA.) I’m sore and crabby and I know this blog isn’t about me, it’s about current events, I know, I KNOW, but the current events in Jersey are Alice’s teeth are crumbly like tea biscuits and she should get them reinforced with titanium if she ever wants to eat anything besides pudding. That was a headline in the Newark Star-Ledger. Go check. I’ll just sit here, massaging my head.
Where were we? Oh, news, right. Recalls, kids, recalls! First Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends were recalled due to naughty lead content –and now Fisher-Price has announced an enormous recall of some of their most popular Sesame Street and Dora the Explorer-themed toys. The toys, which were manufactered in China, are being recalled for—ta-daaa!–lead content. Apparently Mr. Noodle used the wrong can of paint on them. Oh, Mr. Noodle!
As reported in the official recall announcement, these products were being sold between May and August of this year, although according to Mattel, Fisher-Price’s parent company, most of the items were still in warehouses when the lead paint content was discovered.
This isn’t the first recall due to lead contamination Mattel has issued: last year their American Girl division recalled a line of children’s jewelry. (In addition to containing lead, they were found to be “overly winsome” and “resulting in unbearable adorableness.”) This recall, however, is of a far wider scope.
Why all the lead paint? Because it’s cheap, it improves paint quality, and it reduces drying time. Chinese manufacturers are used, after all, to keep costs low; according to the Wall Street Journal, the larger paint manufacturers in China regulate lead content, but there are always supplies brought in from smaller (probably cheaper) companies who don’t. It’s not hard to see how the lead gets to our shores. Let’s hope that the negative publicity Mattel suffers will lead to more stringent testing and regulations on overseas manufacturing.
So what do we do in the meantime? A quick glance through the Consumer Product Safety Commission site shows one recall after another due to lead paint (among other hazards); most of these recalls are unlikely to show up on the nightly news. After skimming this list I can safely say that the best way to protect your children is NEVER BUY THEM ANYTHING, EVER. Also they should never touch anything. (Also: Pacifiers decorated with crystals? What were you thinking, crystal-happy weirdos who made that?) Barring that, sign up on the CSPS site to receive email notification of recalls. Of course you’ll probably receive emails every few minutes. And you’ll never buy anything again. Think of all the money you’ll save!