Dealing With “Made in China” Toxic Toys in the Attic
Posted in the Haddon Heights Forum
#1 Apr 4, 2008
As the dust begins to settle from parents rounding up their children’s toys after the national lead paint recalls, many eco-conscious parents now wonder how they should dispose these confiscated toys. The toys’ lead paint is highly toxic and known to cause a range of health problems in young children. There is no question that parents should immediately remove these toys from the home and away from children. Naturally, most parents would just throw the toys away without giving it a second thought. However, throwing toxic toys in the trash carries serious consequences, as these same toxins will eventually end up in a landfill and back into our drinking water.
So, what choices do parents have to ensure that these toxic toys will be disposed of without causing further harm to the environment? Logically, one would assume that the local municipalities would have a safe and eco-friendly plan for toxic toy disposal. Unfortunately, they do not. Instead, local municipalities that routinely accept other hazardous materials such as antifreeze and mercury have refused to accept contaminated toys in their hazardous waste collections. These municipalities instruct parents to send the toys back to the manufacturer in China. The same holds true on a national level. Like local governments, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) also instructs parents to send the toys back to the manufacturer.
But with no guidelines or plan for disposal, what exactly are these manufacturers in China doing with the recalled toys? Ideally, the CPSC and the manufacturers are supposed to work together to develop an environmentally responsible plan. Not surprisingly, no such plan is yet in place even though the recalls were months ago. Some fear that these manufacturers will quietly dispose of toxic toys in landfills, further contributing to groundwater pollution overseas. Worse, others maintain these manufactures will redistribute toxic toys to children in third world countries in order to recoup the financial losses stemming from the recalls. After all, these are the same Chinese manufacturers who gave us contaminated dog food, child labor and a long track record of showing little or no regard for the environment.
Parents and consumers alike agree that too much time has passed since the initial recalls and it is now time to address the situation. Eco-conscious trial lawyers and local governments must take aggressive action in the courts by using the tort system to hold Chinese manufacturers responsible for recklessly exposing our kids to a banned toxin. In the meantime, why not send the toys directly to the CPSC headquarters in Washington? After all, this same agency failed to keep these toxic toys away from children to begin with. As the toys start to pile up in Washington, perhaps the CPSC will finally move to develop an environmentally safe disposal plan to get these toys and toxins out of the toy boxes, basements and attics of American families.
About John R. Mininno, Esquire
John R. Mininno, Esq. is a New Jersey and Pennsylvania trial lawyer representing clients in defective product, toxic toys and other serious injury claims. He also writes about issues concerning child safety and the environment. His offices are in Collingswood, NJ and Philadelphia, PA. For further information or a free case evaluation, visit www.minfirm.com .
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