Commentary Magazine


Posts For: August 5, 2007

Lead Lobbying

On Wednesday, the Fisher-Price division of Mattel recalled 967,000 units of lead-laden toys, including licensed products Elmo, Big Bird, and my nephew’s favorite, Dora the Explorer. The toys were made by a Chinese contract manufacturer that the world’s largest toymaker did not identify. The recall is the latest in a series aimed at defective or unsafe China-made goods (including 1.5 million Thomas the Tank Engine toys containing lead). In the last few months, Beijing, I’m glad to say, has tried to remedy this problem.

It has also, however, begun lobbying in America to erode Consumer Product Safety Commission standards for . . . lead. Specifically, China opposes limits on the lead content of jewelry for children. Since 2003, there have been more than 30 CPSC recalls for lead in children’s jewelry. Only three of the recalled items were not from China.

Defective Chinese products have killed more people than al-Qaeda. The overwhelming majority of victims have been Chinese. What Beijing does to its own citizens is, tragic though it may be, a problem for the Chinese. What Beijing does to Americans, however, is ours. We don’t let terrorists lobby to achieve greater efficacy. So why should we let negligent Chinese manufacturers do just that?

On Wednesday, the Fisher-Price division of Mattel recalled 967,000 units of lead-laden toys, including licensed products Elmo, Big Bird, and my nephew’s favorite, Dora the Explorer. The toys were made by a Chinese contract manufacturer that the world’s largest toymaker did not identify. The recall is the latest in a series aimed at defective or unsafe China-made goods (including 1.5 million Thomas the Tank Engine toys containing lead). In the last few months, Beijing, I’m glad to say, has tried to remedy this problem.

It has also, however, begun lobbying in America to erode Consumer Product Safety Commission standards for . . . lead. Specifically, China opposes limits on the lead content of jewelry for children. Since 2003, there have been more than 30 CPSC recalls for lead in children’s jewelry. Only three of the recalled items were not from China.

Defective Chinese products have killed more people than al-Qaeda. The overwhelming majority of victims have been Chinese. What Beijing does to its own citizens is, tragic though it may be, a problem for the Chinese. What Beijing does to Americans, however, is ours. We don’t let terrorists lobby to achieve greater efficacy. So why should we let negligent Chinese manufacturers do just that?

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