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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
Attorney • (877) 377-7848

Tainted Toys: How Does This Problem Continue?

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There is no “safe” level of lead exposure for children, and yet it continues to show up in many children’s products: toys, stuffed animals, jewelry, trinkets. The CPSC, along with Oriental Trading Company, Inc. of Omaha, Nebraska, recently announced a voluntary recall of 220,000 ceramic piggy banks. The recalled piggy bank is shaped like a pig and the body of is painted yellow with floral designs. The ceramic lion bank is shaped like a lion and is painted yellow with a brown mane. The banks were made in China and sold online at www.orientaltrading.com and www.funexpress.com from February 2003 through September 2010. No incidents or injuries have been reported at this time.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that lead paint – ingested through either paint chips or lead contaminated dust – is the number one source of lead poisoning for children. Children are at the highest risk for lead poisoning because their bodies absorb 50 percent of the lead they consume, while adult bodies absorb only 10 percent. Lead is particularly toxic to the bodies and brains of children under the age of seven. Even small amounts can cause learning disabilities (lower IQ, ADHD, and ADD) and brain damage that may not be diagnosed until years after the exposure. At very high levels, lead can cause brain swelling, convulsions, coma, and death.

China manufactured every one of the twenty-four toy recalls in the U.S. during 2010 including the popular Thomas & Friends wooden train sets. Over all, the number of products made in China that are being recalled in the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission has doubled in the last five years. The most recalls are with low-price, no-brand-name toys that are often sold at dollar stores and other deep discounters. The CPSC says it recognizes that more must be done to prevent the importation of hazardous toys and other products from China, but are they working quickly enough to save our children? Should you look at every toy with paint on it that comes from China as perhaps suspect? Absolutely! Lead-tainted children’s products shouldn’t be on store shelves, but they are so be aware. Additionally, I urge parents to sign up for the CPSC’s automated notification system at the www.cpsc.gov, to stay abreast of toy recalls.

Do you have a concern whether more products are coming to the US from China and not adhering to our safety standards? What should be done to prevent problems such as lead paint in toys imported into the U.S.?

Mark Bello has thirty-three years experience as a trial lawyer and twelve years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by plaintiffs involved in pending, personal injury litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Business Associate of the Florida, Tennessee, and Colorado Associations for Justice, a member of the American Bar Association as well as their ABA Advisory Committee, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.