Two Very Good Reasons to Avoid Chinese-manufactured Toys

The dangers of Chinese-made toys have been widely known for a great many years. The abusive conditions suffered by workers who make these toys, though perhaps not as well publicized, are becoming equally apparent. Parents now have two very good reasons for keeping all Chinese-manufactured toys away from their children:

  • Chinese manufacturers are notorious for creating toys that are dangerous or downright deadly.
  • These same manufacturers have been discovered to seriously abuse their workers, a practice that not only threatens the health and safety of the workers, but also adds to the risk of producing defective toys that can injure or kill our children.

Dangerous Toys from China

made in china toysAccording to reports, more than 9.8 million units of approximately 3,000 different toys had to be stopped from reaching U.S. stores by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in the 5-year period ending in December 2013 because they violated applicable U.S. standards for toy safety. Over the years, millions of Chinese-manufactured toys that were not stopped in this manner have been recalled for violations of safety standards.

In 2007, alone, more than 25 million toys, most of which were made in China, were recalled by U.S. sellers. Many were recalled for excessive levels of lead in paint used to coat the toys’ surfaces, which may cause serious injury or death to children who put the toys in their mouths. Though fewer toys painted or made with excessive levels of lead have reached U.S. shelves in recent years as a result of a toy-safety system instituted by the CPSC requiring testing by independent third-party laboratories, lead in Chinese-made toys continues to be a serious concern. Other Chinese-made toys have been reported to contain phthalates, which can cause hormonal and reproductive problems in children exposed to the toys; cadmium or formaldehyde, both of which can poison; and sharp protuberances and edges that can cause serious cuts or puncture wounds.

Chinese manufacturers have been reported to use inferior materials, dangerous chemicals, and banned substances to save costs and to enable them to get work that might have been given to other manufacturers if the Chinese companies had not undercut them. Chinese companies have also been reported to withhold the use of relatively expensive chemicals and materials that would have made toys safe for children’s use.

Added to these problems is the abuse reported to be perpetrated by Chinese toy manufacturers against their workers. The conditions in these factories not only harm the workers but also increase the likelihood that toys sold to U.S. consumers are made in a slipshod or negligent manner.

Abusive Conditions in Chinese Toy Factories

A 66-page investigative report issued by China Labor Watch (CLW) on November 18, 2014, details continued labor-rights violations by four Chinese toy factories that manufacture toys for major international toy-brand companies, including Mattel, Fisher-Price, Crayola, Disney, and Hasbro. Additional companies using the four investigated toy factories include Target, Kid Galaxy, Spinmaster, Kids II, Tomy IFI, and others. Toys made by these factories during the investigation (which was conducted from June to November 2014) included such popular items as Barbie Dolls, Mickey Mouse products, Thomas the Tank Engine products, and Transformers’ Optimus Prime products.

According to the report, conditions have not improved for Chinese toy workers since an earlier in-depth study conducted in 2007 and may, in fact, have deteriorated further in comparison to those in other industries. Among the many legal and ethical violations discovered were

  • Abusive management
  • Harsh and high-pressure working conditions
  • Wages below the legal minimum
  • Mandatory overtime hours between 100 and 120 hours per month (over 3 times the statutory overtime maximum of 36 hours per month)
  • Unpaid overtime wages
  • Frequent rotation between day and night shifts
  • Lack of protective equipment
  • Lack of legally mandated safety training
  • Poorly maintained production machinery
  • Fire-safety concerns (including locked emergency doors and blocked fire exits)
  • Poor living conditions (including crowded and hot dorms holding 8 to 18 people per room and 5 shower rooms for 180 people)
  • Environmental pollution (industrial waste discharged into general sewer system)

Why do companies that produce toys found in most U.S. homes use Chinese labor, despite the abuses that occur? According to the CLW report, these toy sellers move their manufacturing bases to China and other developing countries to take advantage of their cheap labor and to further save costs by utilizing already existing local factories rather than building factories of their own in the region. These toy companies reportedly divide their orders among many Chinese factories not only to maximize profits but also in an attempt to reduce their responsibility for illegalities, unethical practices, and poor labor conditions occurring in any individual factory.

How does all of this affect the average U.S. consumer? Consumers can have a positive effect on both the conditions endured by Chinese toy workers and the continued production of unsafe Chinese toys by refusing to buy and use toys manufactured in China. Of even more importance to any parent, the avoidance of Chinese-made toys can go a long way toward keeping your child safe from harm.

Obtain Legal Assistance from Child-injury Attorney Jeffrey Killino

Child-injury firm attorney Jeffrey Killino is known across the country for his dedication to keeping children safe from defective toys and other dangerous products. In one case brought against toy company Mattel, Inc., attorney Killino obtained an order requiring Mattel to provide free lead testing to children who may have been exposed to excessive levels of lead in Chinese-made toys. If your child has been injured or killed from use of or exposure to a dangerous toy or product, medical malpractice, or other negligence, attorney Killino and his team of defective-toy, child-accident, and wrongful-death lawyers can help you obtain the justice you deserve from all those responsible for your child’s injury or death.