Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kids Toys This Holiday Seaon: Be Careful

It is absolutely amazing how big business continues to shun the welfare of consumers regardless of how old they are.

How would you feel if I told you that somebody was making things that they knew could cause serious harm to your kids AND those things were made specially for your kids? I bet you'd feel pretty crappy. No, I bet you'd feel pretty angry. You should feel pretty angry because it gets even more interesting.

Let's cut the hypothetical bad guys some slack for a minute. Supposing they were making things specially for your kids but never knew those things were dangerous. Now, possibly they're not so bad. OK. Let's say that they didn't know for the longest time that they were making things that were harmful to children. However, research then takes place and it is determined that those things are dangerous and that those people making those things should stop. They would probably stop right? Well, what if the government then figured it was so serious that they imposed a ban, making it illegal to manufacture those dangerous things. That should put an end to it right?

Well guess what. When money is involved, nobody cares about our kids. The scenario I described about is exactly what happened recently and the worst thing you can imagine is happening. Here is exactly what happened.

This past summer, Congress outlawed the use of chemicals called phthalates in children's toys. It is chemical that is supposed to make hard toys more flexible. Phthalates have been found to cause reproductive defects in children. Some of the things it can cause is malformation of the genitalia and development problems. In adults, it is believed to cause sterility. Guess who one of the biggest manufactures is of this kind of chemical? ExxonMobile. Guess who was lobbying Congress hard over the summer to try and kill the legislation? That's right, same guys.

So fortunately Congress stands strong and makes the stuff illegal. Here's where it gets interesting. Turns out the ban doesn't take effect until February 10th. Can you smell what is coming next? You should because it stinks. Toy manufacturers and distributors have decided that instead of destroying the toxic toys, they are going to sell them at discount in massive quantities in hopes of eluding losses on the dangerous items.

That's right, you hear me correctly. Just in time for the holiday season, toy makers are going to dump health hazards at us and our kids so that they can make a few bucks. Here is the tricky part, the bigger chains have made public declarations that they are removing all items containing phthalates. Can't say much about the smaller stores. However, ingredients are not listed on most toys and as such, it will be virtually impossible to tell if the products on the shelves contain these hazardous substances.

It's unfortunate because in all likelihood there are some manufacturers that will do right and get rid of the bad toys so they never see the light of day. It is a classic example of some bad apples ruining it for the rest of us. So, in answer this season, consider getting a different kind of present for the kids. Maybe even doing something, going somewhere. Try something fun you haven't done before. Once the deadline passes, the playthings should be safe again. Hopefully.

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