Friday, November 09, 2007

It Is Now Safe to Blame It All on China

At first I thought the crazy story of the Aqua Dots recall -- a chemical in the plastic beads is metabolized into the club drug GHB in kids' bodies -- was another case of the Blame It All on China Syndrome. After all, I though, if Western chemists' came up with a crazy new toy and told a Chinese factory to make it, how is that China's fault?

But this New York Times story indicates that it was really the Chinese manufacturer's fault and that distributors in the West (in this case Australia) were being deceived about the product's ingredients.

I take away a few things from this recall:

1) Once again, it's scary but true that kids of all ages will sometimes swallow crazy things. One of the kids who got sick from swallowing these beads was 10.

2) I'd just as soon stay away from toys with fun new chemical properties. The Aqua Dots' appeal was that they stick together when you get them wet, so kids could use them to sculpt toys and jewelry. Yes, it may be neat if a new product shrinks or grows or changes color or sticks together or oozes, but I cannot rest assured that my 3 year old, not to mention my baby, won't make it into her next snack.

P.S. "Grey's Anatomy" featured the near death of a kid who swallowed magnet toys last night. I'm so glad they did this, especially right before Christmas, because more parents will probably learn about their danger from that broadcast than from the hundreds of articles that have been written about it.


Sara said...

Just goes to prove my theory that the old wooden building blocks and the "old school" toys are the best. As long as they're not covered in lead-based paint.

Sara said...

And did you see this??

Kori said...

I miss the seventies, when we could have a Snoopy snow cone maker with actual razor-sharp graters and chemical sugar goo as key features. As long as there was an adorable cartoon character melted into the plastic, no one questioned where it was made (at least not for safety reasons.)

Abby said...

I totally had one of those Snoopy Snow Cone machines!!! Ha! Those were the days...