Both the European Union and the United States have urged China to increase its safety efforts, particularily towards unsafe toys, as the holiday season approaches. In 2007, over 20 million Chinese toys were recalled for a variety of reasons, including the use of lead paint.
“Over 50 percent of dangerous products notified during January to September originated from China (56 percent). This represents an increase compared to the first nine months of 2007, when 472 reported cases (47 percent) had China as the country of origin,” the European Commission said in a statement printed in the Reuters piece. According to Reuters, the EU’s executive Commission “oversees product safety” for a 27-member group and stated that the increase in recalls is attributed to “more effective market surveillance.”
… [EU Consumer Affairs Commissioner Meglena Kuneva:] “Since last year, there is quite a good improvement … but I cannot say for certain that Chinese toys are 100 percent safe this Christmas. I will be telling member states to step up their surveillance ahead of Christmas with a view to cracking down on unsafe products.”
E.U. and U.S. representatives met with the Chinese representative in Brussels November 17th to sign an agreement “aimed at enforcing product safety standards and exchanging information on food safety.”
A week later, China’s Foreign Ministry urged factories in China to avoid using unsafe foreign designs in their products:
“The Chinese government pays great attention to toy quality and demands toy makers keep the bar high for quality too,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang told a news conference.
“Related Chinese quality departments continue to increase quality checks on toys, especially those which are exported. If problems are found, then none of these products is allowed to be exported.”
“For example, some Chinese toy makers manufacture based off foreign orders and designs, and then export. Then when problems are found they are found with the design. Those designs came from abroad.”
See also past CDT posts on toy safety.
[Image courtesy of the UN Population Fund.]