Corporate Responsibility and Consumer Safety

Essay by ryan66027College, UndergraduateA+, September 2007

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Mattel, on August 2nd, issued a massive recall of 1.5 million Fisher-Price toys worldwide. Mattel, the nation's largest toy-maker, recalled the Chinese-made toys because of excessive levels of lead and small, powerful magnets that could be swallowed. A similar recall of Chinese toys was announced last November and since 2003 at least one U.S. death and 19 surgeries can be attributed to swallowing these small magnets. Perhaps than, since China is our largest exporter of toys, more government oversight is needed before allowing these products on U.S. shelves.

About half of all goods withdrawn from sale in Europe in 2006 were Chinese, according to figures from the European Commission, which creates safety standards regulations (BBC News). A Beijing newspaper reported that industrial waste, including dirty carpet fluff, and used instant noodle packaging, was found in some of these toys. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, has recently suggested detaining and inspecting all Chinese imports (MSNBC).

Since August 2nd, about nine million products have been recalled. All were Mattel toys imported from China. Nancy A. Nord, Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, has stated that no injuries have resulted from the recent recalls. She added that the recalls were "intentionally broad" to prevent such injuries (MSNBC). The magnets contained in the recalled toys may be fatal if more than one is swallowed. Nord released that at least three children have underwent surgery to remove a pair of magnets, causing intestinal perforations and infection.

Despite the irresponsibility of Chinese manufacturers, not enough focus is put on American importers such as Mattel. The China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Light Industrial Products and Arts and Crafts stated that American companies place orders which are "low priced and with unclear quality demands" and "demand delivery of a large amount...