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As the specter of lead in Chinese toys continues to loom (capped off by the outrageous recall of the BONUS toy that RC2 Corp. sent to replace its previously recalled Thomas the Tank Engine trains), I’m starting to see more signs of life from the few who don’t make their toys in China.
More than 20 million toys have been pulled off the shelves this year (in 60 separate recalls). That’s everything from Aqua Dots beads that mimic the effect of the “date-rape” drug GHB when swallowed to Dora toys and the pricey Thomas trains that I’ve now put in the basement (sorry, kids!) because the whole case feels like lead to me at this point.
The problem is that my kids don’t crave a Vermont teddy bear (unless it has a Webkinz tag) or wooden train for Christmas. An American flag won’t elicit many oohs and aahs, either (and who says that would be made here, in any case?). It will be interesting to see if consumers really do flock to made-in-America toys. The risks of Chinese products, after all, remain minimal—unless your kids are chewing on lead-covered offerings at all hours of the day. But it’s hard to wrap up a gift that you suspect could prove to be a health risk.
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