August 1, 2007

Made-in-China toys

News is the US toy company Fisher Price is pulling out of stores in US and Canada nearly a million plastic toys, many of which are ‘Elmo’, because they contain potentially unsafe amount of lead. And those who have bought them in the last four months can exchange them for a safer toy. The toys for pre-school children were made in China.

I wonder where the recalled toys go. Shouldn’t be surprised, if they find their way to the Third World, notably ours. In recent times we have been flooded with consumer items that are sold at half the price at which our own products are made available. China-made toys look slicker than those turned out by many Indian toy makers; they are much cheaper.

In smaller towns (I know about Coonoor) itinerant traders organize full fledged exhibition/sales of China made items every other month. In Mysore a couple of dollar-shop type of outlets have sprung up to flog made-in-China products.

Factory seconds and third-country rejects appear to have a huge market in middle-class India.


parijata said...

Gosh, this is scary! And I was thinking about wallpaper instead of paint for our new house, because I thought that the paints available here contained too much lead.

It is hard being a developing country.

guru said...

Just a few years ago, cooking vessels were given internal coating (in Kannada, Kalayee)whose principal ingredient was lead. Just within 50 years, families in Tamil Nadu used lead vessel(called in Tamil : eeya chombu) to prepare Rasam and these vessels were recycled and passed from mothers to daughters. Many bright coloured toys sold some 15 years ago near Mysore's Devaraja Market and near Bangalore's Swastic circle had lead coating.They were manufactured in India. There was warning in Britain some months ago about Indian shops selling red chilli powder, rasam and sambar powders which were presumably adulerated with paint compounds containing lead. I had to warn my relatives in US not to buy these specific brands of chilli powder and powdered spices. They were alarmed as they had jars of these in plenty and had to throw them away.