Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Read this before heading out into the holiday fray

For many consumers, the Friday after Thanksgiving is the day to start shopping for the loved ones on their Christmas lists. And, of course, just about everyone has to make a trip or two down the toy aisle.

Toys are big selling items in truck stops. For truckers far from home, who can resist buying a toy while you are waiting to pay for fuel?

However, you might want to do some research to make sure the toys on your list haven’t been involved in a product recall.

It might surprise you to know that some of the names you love and trust, including Fisher-Price, Mattel and Spin Master have been involved in some of the biggest toy recalls in recent history. In all, more than 20 million toys have been recalled so far in 2007 – 10 million toys have been recalled because of lead paint contamination from toys manufactured in China.

This past week, I spoke to Don Mays of Consumer Reports Magazine and he provided me with some helpful, yet scary, information I wasn’t aware of before our conversation.

Even though a product has been voluntarily recalled because of a safety issue– that doesn’t mean retailers have to stop selling the product or that it has to be removed from store shelves.

While many retailers choose to remove products voluntarily recalled products, which they no longer sell in the U.S., May said that many times those same products will be shipped off and sold overseas to countries with less stringent or no safety standards.

Recently, 4.2 million Aqua Dots bead craft kits, manufactured in China, were voluntarily recalled because the coating on the beads contained the toxic “date rape” drug GHB, or gamma-hydroxy butyrate. This problem was found after children ingested the beads and ended up hospitalized because of their reactions linked back to the beads after testing was done on them.

While most retailers have pulled Aqua Dots from their store shelves, the scary part is that since this was a voluntary recall this product could still wind up on store shelves for parents to unknowingly buy for their children in other countries.

So, before you head out to do your holiday shopping, you might want to click here to find out which products are on the “naughty” list in 2007.