TIA president defends safety record

TIA president Carter Keithley defends US industry’s record on the safety of Chinese imports.
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As consumer concerns about the safety of Chinese imports grow, the president of the Toy Industry Association (TIA) says he's not surprised by one report which ‘revealed’ that most of the toys recalled this year came from China.

“Eighty percent or more of the three billion toys sold each year come from China,” said Keithley. “Given that amount, it’s not surprising (so many recalled) toys are from China. It’s the law of averages.

“We never like to see a recall, particularly ones that involve something like lead paint in a toy. That has been forbidden for decades. The reality is the countries don’t make the toys — companies make them. And they’re the ones that are responsible.”

Fresh concerns have been sparked by RC2’s recent recall of 1.5 million Thomas and Friends wooden train sets that contained lead paint. They were made in China

“That was a particularly big recall and for those products to have contained lead paint is just something that should not have happened.

“This was an unfortunate occurrence,” Keithley said. “We’d like to find out more about what happened to see if there are any gaps of our safety system.”

“Our industry has sourced toys from China for the past couple of decades—since the 80’s. If we, over the last couple of decades, had not been able to rely on the safety of toys from China, we would not be sourcing them from China. These are products for our children.”

Keithley also said he does not believe the US should ban toys made in China.

“Not at all. We are not anywhere near thinking that we should ban toys made in China.
“There’s a tendency to overlook that the recall system is part of the safety net designed to insure that toys are safe. And I can tell you that the system of assuring the safety (of toys) is robust.”

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