Thursday, November 08, 2007

Tainted toys for tots

Just yesterday, I received an invite to a holiday party asking all guests to bring a gift to support the Toys for Tots program. This is a great organization and one that I would normally champion this time of year. However, after seeing the latest headlines about toys containing the date rape drug (a phrase I never imagined I would write), I've pretty much decided against buying any toys this holiday season. Sorry kids...I hate to be the Grinch but this is for your own good!
In case you missed it, the popular Aqua Dots is the latest Chinese-made toy to be pulled from the shelves. Distributed by Spinmaster Ltd. in the U.S., it turns out that if children happen to ingest any of the beads from this arts-and-crafts product, they could have seizures and slip into a coma. That's because the toy contains a chemical that converts into a date rape drug when ingested. Already, two children here and another three in Australia have been hospitalized because of the beads.
The recall serves as the latest blow to an already beleaguered toy industry. Statistics show that nearly 80 percent of the toys sold in the U.S. are made in China. Unfortunately, until change is demanded regarding China's toy production, I'm guessing we'll continue to see safety problems related to lead paint.
So now we're now less than two months from Christmas and it's possible that millions of children will soon discover that Santa Claus has skimped on the toys this year. After all, who needs a Barbie doll when there are nice, warm socks to be had?
I can't speak for others but I definitely won't be buying toys for any of my friends' children this year. I think I'll invest in some books so they can brush up on reading and writing skills. Imagine that!

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