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China Free

China Free

November 11, 2007

Today I went out shopping with my 11 yr old son. We were looking for a last minute present for my oldest son as well browsing for some Christmas presents for my younger children. I am not sure that I could even begin to express how disappointed I was to find toy after toy after manufactured in China. And non-toy things too.

Leap Frog toys…China. Though one Leapster cartridge that I picked up was made in Indonesia.
Schleich castle figures… China

Melissa and Doug… China. This one upset me the most today. I had just bought a bunch of their products online where the website said made in the USA. That is not the case. I am considering returning them all once they arrive.

Fisher Price toys… every single one I picked up was made in China, even the cute retro grandfather clock that looked like one I had as a kid.

Le Creuset cookware…made in China. Good Lord I assumed it was made in France and have coveted it for years. I had it in my cart at TJMaxx today when my son pulled it out and read the underneath. I could rent my son out if anyone wants to have an external conscience. I felt actual physical pain when he put the Dutch oven back on the shelf.

Every Christmas decoration we picked up, China. Yes, even the snow globe I had picked up as an addition to my collection. When my son put that back on the shelf I may have muttered under my breath, “Great, how about we exchange twigs and rocks as presents this year.”

I came across this website today called China Free Christmas which lists toy manufacturers that are safe. It is far from an exhaustive list but a good place to begin should you too want to break free from goods manufactured in China and exchange macaroni glued to paper plates with your family an friends.

Posted by Chris @ 9:45 am  

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Comments

  1. Beth says:

    I don’t love that almost everything in this country is imported from China, but the reality is that we’re a consumer society that wants a lot of stuff, cheap.

    Sure, China is experiencing a lot of bad PR right now around the lead paint on toys, but to manufacture them here would cost a lot more money, and many people wouldn’t be willing to pay the increased price. Some people wouldn’t be able to pay the increased price.

    And the funny thing is, the Chinese people who make all the products do so for almost no pay in some rather crappy conditions. We should be incensed about how they’re treated, not the fact that everything is made there.

    Watch the documentary about Wal-Mart. You’ll see Chinese products in a different light.

  2. Mommy mommy says:

    I just forwarded this post to my mom. She is always looking for good made in america stuff, and also a big fan of Melissa and Doug. Thank you.

  3. Denise says:

    I want that damn grandfather clock and I will have it. I will simply put it behind glass, way up high where nobody can ever touch it. Damn it. I want it. HMPH!

  4. Chris says:

    Beth I totally agree with you. As a society we want cheap stuff. Lots and lots of cheap stuff.

    It does take a new way of thinking to say “I am willing to have less things but spend more money on those that I do have.” This year Christmas at our house is going to look different and that is not a bad thing.

    It’s also the same with food, which makes me crazy in ways I can not even begin to articulate here.

  5. moi says:

    Rather than blame Wal-Mart for everything bad in the world, let’s try to figure out why they (China) are trying to kill us off. First animals, next kids. As for avoiding chinese made products, pretty difficult. I feel your pain. Even Play-Doh is made in china! I’ve always been wary of Chinese-made products and now I’m glad I’ve always tossed out that Hello Kitty lip gloss and avoided the Dollar store like the plague. Even my beloved Tilapia usually comes from China! Gag, just what I want, fish from lead-infused sewage water. As for the argument about how cheaply everything is made in China ($$-wise) - at what price life? How about the CEOs of our toy companies stop receiving millions of dollars in pay and bonuses? Why should they be so handsomely rewarded? If we didn’t have top shell out so much money (and really, after a million or two, what do you need all that money for anyway????) to pay them for what a crappy job they’re doing by ensuring the whole country is poisoned, we’d be able to enjoy quality made items free of cheap poisons.

  6. Crisanne says:

    I remember reading a post from another concerned mother saying that while some companies like Melissa and Doug manufactur in China, they have their own plants with strict guidlines. I’ll have to dig around for a bit, but I’ll try to email you the link.

  7. Kate says:

    Le Creuset? MELISSA AND DOUG? Wow. A while ago had the classic “cost per wear” revelation about clothes and started focusing on buying really nice, but sometimes pricey, clothing that I loved. And now I guess it’s time to apply that standard to my whole life. But then I think, if these great, reliable, classic brands like Le Creuset are being made in China, where do I go next? Chicken roasting in a vessel that I made myself? I don’t know.

    As an aside, I lived in China for a bit over a year, and I don’t know how to say this without sounding judgmental and racist, but it really *is* a dirty, corrupt country, and there are so, so many things wrong with it. I have never been surprised to hear about the poor production standards and tainted products, because it fits perfectly with the Chinese attitude I experienced there.

  8. Chris says:

    Crisanne,
    Don’t all the companies say the same thing? That *they* have strict guidelines.

  9. Heather says:

    Wow, putting back that Le Creuset would have killed me. It is mind blowing just how much stuff is made in China. I took a peek around Walmart and Target last week and noticed I was cursing under my breath. I am planning on making handmade things this year for as many family members as I can with materials not made in China! ;)

  10. M says:

    I usually lurk…but I had to post to THANK YOU for today’s entry and helping to make folks aware of the dangers of lead used in products from China. As a mother of a child who had leukemia, I can’t help but ponder if her cancer was caused by something as simple as a toy she played with. Another very scary thing is the dishware we all use…if you check the packaging of dishes it will state that, “This product contains chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects and other illnesses.” In CA, according to the law, (prop 65) the store must post a sign near the dishware or items being sold- I have seen the sign in Target once. The bottom line is, check the packaging for where the item is made- NOT where it is disributed.

  11. Meg says:

    psst… if it makes you feel any better (and it probably won’t, since this means that a good deal on Le Creuset is pretty much unattainable) that dutch oven you picked up at TJ Maxx was probably a knockoff. From the official website: “The Le Creuset factory is at Fresnoy-Le-Grand in Northern France.”

    I only thought to look it up because my husband has a pretty nice Le Creuset tea kettle from TJ Maxx which we’re pretty sure is a fake. It’s nice, but compared to the real Le Creuset that my mom has, it’s obviously cheaper. And it’s probably adding a nice healthy dose of lead and/or roofies to our tea.

  12. Not The Mama says:

    Thanks for the link! Because of both my desire to cut back on mindless consumerism and my fear due to all the recent recalls, I’m trying to buy as little as possible for Christmas. I’m all about making gifts. I have a whole stash of knitted and sewed gifts stashed away. Beyond that I’m trying to buy mainly books. But obviously I’ll want to buy SOME toys and decorations, etc. So I’m thrilled to see this list. Thanks!

  13. Kristin says:

    Check out Izilla Toys in Seattle. They work hard to carry a good selection of toys made without child labor, lead, thalates, etc. http://www.izillatoys.com Web ordering is coming soon., but you can order over the phone now. I work there, and it’s a small shop owned by a wonderful family. I hope this doesn’t look like spam, I’ve been reading you for months now. :)

  14. Anna says:

    I’m trying to avoid giving more “stuff” for Christmas this year, and focusing on “experience” gifts, for example, my sister’s 9 year old divas will be getting gift cards to go have their nails manicured (they’re coveting artificial nails these days).

  15. sarah says:

    Thank you for writing about this. I have been upset and appaled at the terrible working conditions that millions of people all around this planet endure for the sake of maintaining our American mindless consumerism. But it is so hard not to buy your children stuff, lots and lots of stuff. I want them to be happy. How do you explain to a little child that you will not buy them an endless amount of toys because it is wrong to buy things that were made by the hands of child slaves, and it is wrong to waste resources when so many people go without? It’s the hard thing.

    Sarah

    p.s. When I was young I was my mother’s external conscience. She liked it about as much as you do : ). Now my daughter has taken up that mantle and never misses the chan

  16. Barb Cooper says:

    I read a book this summer called “A Year Without Made in China” by Sara Bongiorni. It was such an eye-opener at how much of our economy we’ve outsourced to a country that employs child labor and unbelievably lax manufacturing safety standards. And the money we’re spending in China supports a Communist regime, which is directly opposed to our own government and way of life.

    I had those Aquadots on my kitchen counter and we have an entire fleet of Polly Pocket vehicles that were painted with lead paint. We are really trying to use less and less products that are made in China now, though. As you said, it is SO HARD to find things that aren’t!

    Thanks for the great list and this thought-provoking post. It’s an interesting study in human nature that despite all the horrible events that have been associated with Chinese manufactured products, companies are continuing to outsource production there, and we Americans continue to buy those products.

  17. Sue says:

    We’re going to have a little house on the prairie Christmas this year - everyone gets an orange. The end.

    Of course, then I have to worry about pesticide. DANG it.

  18. kathleen says:

    Thank you for the China free link……I’m shopping there.

  19. mama's got moxie says:

    try smaller toy stores and toy boutiques. i hear they usually carry items mostly made in the us. and check out http://www.oompa.com. all of their stuff is made in europe.

  20. Kelly says:

    Blah, I just blogged about this the other day as well. Christmas shopping is going to be scarier than usual this year.. Now instead of worrying that every child has the exact same # of presents along with comparable priced -because OMG the outrage if one has a single present more, now I get to worry if the toy I bought will cause them to be hospitalized.. I’ve already decided I’m just not doing it- This year Santa brings CLOTHES! lol! Sucks for my kids as all four have birthdays in the next four months lol!

  21. Katie says:

    I haven’t put the badge up on my website yet but I took the “Buy Handmade” pledge this year: http://www.buyhandmade.org/ Course it’s not going to work for some of the kids’ gifts but everything going to the adults in my life will be handmade. And not in China.

  22. Rae says:

    I’ve been shopping China Free for about a year and it is really, really hard where the kids are concerned. My reasoning is that it simply doesn’t make sense for the majority of the population of a country to spend their lives slaving over the cheap plastic crap that another country throws away.

    Rant.

    Anyways, Playmobil is all made in Europe, Hurray! And a lot of Lego is made in Europe, although some is made in China.

    Kleen Kanteen is made in China which I think is lame, since they market themselves as all natural and enviro-friendly and all that. But Sigg is European, and cuter, too.

  23. Beth says:

    Something else to research when you have time: a rather large percentage of organic foods sold in the US are being grown in China.

    When making handmade gifts such as knitted items — check where the yarn comes from.

    Playmobil continues to be made — for the most part! — in Europe. Check *each* box. Lego has unfortunately outsourced much of their manufacturing — but not all! — to China.

    Melissa and Doug moved to China quite a while ago: I remember when the change-over occurred, being able to smell the difference on the painted wood — *really** toxic smelling.

    For me the deep concern is two-fold: the manufacturing conditions (health, safety, pay, child labor, human rights abuses etc) for the workers; and the safety concerns for the consumer.

    The July 2007 issue of National Geographic had an article entitled: China’s Boomtowns, which covers issues of mass-market manufacturing. Eye-opening and scary.

  24. Stefania/CityMama says:

    The China issue is a touchy one for me. I too have been scanning labels–it’s amazing how much stuff at IKEA is made in China, for example. I think everyone needs to look at the bigger picture, though. All these AMERICAN, FRENCH, SWEDISH etc. companies manufacturing in China went there to try and save money, and the profits ended up in the executives’ pockets. They certainly weren’t passing the savings on their customer base: the families buying their products. In the end it’s not only China that let us down. They are only partly to blame. We should look first to the toy manufacturers in our own country. Those Chinese factory towns wouldn’t be in existence if it weren’t for companies like Wal-Mart, Fisher-Price, IKEA, and Mattel.

  25. Chris says:

    Stefania, I agree with you completely. I think the bottom line is that we all need to become more informed consumers, to think before we spend our dollars. And probably for most of us consume less.

    Personally I am appalled when I go to the homes of some of my friends and see the volume of toys, crappy plastic toys, that they have for their children. Who NEEDS that much stuff? If you need an entire “play” room filled with bins and labeled toy boxes and shelving and closets filled with toys, you have too much. You know in my not so humble opinion.

  26. Chris says:

    Oh and mama’s got moxie, many (most?) of the toys sold at oompa toys are made in china.

    here is a link to their page where they say where their toys are manufactured.

    http://www.oompa.com/cgi-bin/category/cs_madeIn

    ANd here is where the confusion lies much of the time. They call themselves a Eurpoean toy seller, which technically they are. However, the European toy companies are manufacturing their toys in China.

  27. pickel says:

    I have created a collection of Lead Free/Non-Toxic Toys as well as contacted their store owners for a month long giveaway of great toys.

    The problem with some products is that even if they are made in China they may go through a rigorous testing and consumers don’t necessarily know that. When you were out shopping you were looking at where it was made but did you know that companies like Melissa and Doug stand by their China production?

    “Yes, we definitely appreciate and understand your concern. Please be assured, we test for lead VERY frequently.

    It’s quite possible to make great quality children’s items in China, which meet all safety regulations, but the key point is that you have to test and inspect very frequently to be sure that your factories are always following your instructions explicitly. I assure you that’s exactly what we do.

    From our experience, the key to doing this correctly is not simply to insist that your factories follow your instructions, but then to go one step further and to AUDIT, INSPECT, AND TEST very frequently. That is the most important part of the process, and it’s something our company has always taken VERY seriously.”

    Please come check out the list and read the testimonials of 57 companies that stand by their toys.

  28. tracy m says:

    The cast iron at IKEA is made in Sweden.

    I wrote this post last week: Choosing Safer Toys

    http://www.mormonmommywars.com/?p=914

    at Mormon Mommy Wars about getting toys not made in China- it’s full of links, and as someone who previously worked in the toy industry, I can verify a lot of information.

  29. Christina says:

    Ahhhh. Meg is right. I checked the bottom of our *one* Le Creuset pot and it says “Made in France.” I feel so naive, although I’ve often wondered how the discount stores get so many great things at cheap prices. The other day I purchased a Playmobil set at a discount store, so pleased with my non-China product. When I got it home my husband took one look at the box and pointed out the “Made in China.” Doh! I took it back and got some Heros blocks (German made).

    I found a great post that lists oodles of online toy stores that either sell EU and US-made toys, or that list the country of origin for each toy. The only disclaimer? Some the prices made my jaw drop. There’s always a cost.

    Oh. One last thing . . . it may be difficult to explain child labor and rampant consumerism to our children, but it’s not as hard to explain that “we have so much already” and “let’s be grateful for what we do have.”

  30. elizabeth says:

    We just don’t have any/many toys made in China. I just have never been a big buyer of the most popular toys, which generally have been plastic crap. I think Chinese or American products are suspect to being cheaply made for a nation that wants a lot of cheap/easy to be had crap.

    Here’s another neat/natural (fingers crossed) toy source. http://www.novanatural.com/

    One neat thing to do is MAKE wooden toys with kids - climbing walls, stilts, can walkers - lots of time and effort, but worth it - SO WORTH it…

    Thanks for an entry on this!

  31. nicole says:

    thank you so much for this link! i wrote about you in my blog today, not about you, as a person (that would be strange…) but i was writing about how i feel such a strong need to read three certain blogs each day. yours is one of them.

    thanks again for the link, could always use some good old fashion American craftsmanship.

  32. nicole case says:

    thank you so much for this link! i wrote about you in my blog today, not about you, as a person (that would be strange…) but i was writing about how i feel such a strong need to read three certain blogs each day. yours is one of them.

    thanks again for the link, could always use some good old fashion American craftsmanship.

    :)

  33. Lovebabz says:

    Things made in China doesn’t bother me. However I would like to find something made in America. It isn’t China’s fault that Americans are consumer addicts and don’t give a rat’s booty about made in China..unless some sweet little kid get sick on the products made by China(read race, social class). Thanks for the site–Do you know if there one for reformed hypocrites? or just hypocrites?

  34. Chris says:

    pickel,
    While I agree that some companies have tougher safety measures in place and test their products more and that is all well and good, I think the problem is larger than that.

    As Rae said above in the comments, the population of one country to spends their lives slaving over the cheap plastic crap that another country throws away.

  35. Jessica @ A Bushel and a Peck says:

    WAAAAAAHHHHH–not Melissa & Doug!!! I was thinking they were going to be my go-to this Christmas. This is truly infuriating…I find it unbelievable that we as consumers are unable to force the companies who make toys for our children to do so safely. Its appalling that standards are so lax, that factories are outsourced so that millionaires and billionaires can make more money, and that I can’t buy my kids any damn toys for Christmas because the toys may make my kids sick. Disgusting.

  36. Tamatha says:

    I’ve always had good luck with Rosie Hippo catalog; here’s a blurb from their website:

    Other standards which we apply to our products include evaluating
    environmental impacts and workplace and labor issues. We feel that toys
    produced under conditions that are fair for workers and that has a
    positive effect on the environment will also carry with them an inherent
    spirit that is good for our children, and good for their future.

    I just bought some blocks a week ago that were made in France from wood taken from sustainable forests. While I haven’t received those yet, everything else I’ve bought has been great, and, China-free. I can’t say the whole website is China-free, I’d call the 800 number to check, but it’s a good resource in any case.

    Rosiehippo.com

  37. Chris says:

    I agree that less is more and wow, that is a strong conviction. I haven’t started checking tags yet, but each blog I read that discusses this drives it home to me that I need to pay attention.

  38. Chris says:

    Lovebabz,
    It is sad that it took lead in toys to get most of us aware. But once you are aware and decide to do better that is something right?

  39. Jolyn says:

    Thank you for blogging about this. I’m not the type to overreact about recalls, politics, etc., mostly because I have my husband to do that for me. He came home last week with a $75 iron because he said it was the only one on the shelf not made in China. I don’t iron. But my son loves Thomas, and with two other kids and Christmas coming I am trying to become more conscious and purposeful in what I bring into my home. It is overwhelming trying to stay on top of it all, which is a big reason I read blogs. I think “they” would be surprised how much we really do care. Thanks again.

  40. pickel says:

    Chris, I think you should read what I have to say on my site…but to save you the visit. I am totally against the plastic crap and I refuse to by it and bring it into my home. I agree that we have to watch where things come from and we have to look very closely at companies. I have done a lot of research on companies that take pride in their products. Rosie Hippo, Oompa, Melissa and Doug, Brio, etc. I’m not trying to publicize the blog here…just trying to inform you on what I have found.

  41. pickel says:

    Beth…agree about the handmade products. Be careful where metal buttons come from. Pewter can contain lead.

  42. Helen says:

    CNN just did a piece on another company that’s making all-natural, lead free toys. You can see it here:

    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2007/11/11/seavert.oh.non.toxic.toys.wbns

  43. Steff says:

    A lady and I were talking in Costco today in the dishes aisle - every single one of the dish sets we made in China!!! I hesitate to look at the dishes stacked in my cabinet.

    Thanks for the good links everyone!

  44. amy says:

    A friend of my daughter’s OT (boy, this sounds fake, eh?) opened a toy shop in September. When she investigated Melissa and Doug, she learned that they are made in China, but unlike many other toy companies, they have not outsourced their safety testing and quality control. Outsourcing the quality control and safety testing is what has gotten Mattel into trouble.

    How true it is depends on this new store owner, whom I do not know, but I thought I’d toss that into the conversation.

  45. OMSH says:

    Weird - my comment populated with Chris, instead of OMSH…sorry. :(

  46. Andi says:

    Pickel, I checked out that widget you have posted on your blog and that’s such a handy little tool. I was especially tickled to see the Land of Nod rated so highly, I just love drooling over that site. They did issue a voluntary recall recently, though, when they determined some of the paint used on one of their furniture lines contained too much lead; I wasn’t sure if you knew or not.

  47. M. says:

    Chris, thank you SO MUCH for posting this. My hubs and I have been thinking the exact same thing — let’s try not to buy anything made in Ch. for Xmas! Thank you very much for that link. I will study it carefully.

  48. Joy H says:

    Lovely — I’m just about done with my Christmas shopping. I hate to even go and look at the boxes. Eeeek! Although I don’t see any of it as cheap, it will be interesting to check out.

  49. Kelly says:

    I just finished that book “A year without “made in China”" last night, I think you were the one that told us about it. It really makes you think. While reading it I was thinking Melissa and Doug must be made here, real wood, safe toys, and I think they’re from CT, and I’m appaled to read here it is also Made in China.

    Thanks for the recommendation of the book, it was really eye opening, funny how your post yesterday coincides with me finishing the book.

  50. Nicki says:

    We shop all year round in the thrift store. Not out of cheapness, but because the quality of the products brought to the thrift store is not too far from brand new. It seems like people are buying more and more, getting tired of if pretty quick and then just dump it (not even trying to resell on the Internet) at the thrift store. We find lots of fun and entertaining toys there. Things you can’t even get in the store anymore, like last years models. And sometimes old dinky toys, the unbreakable stuff “Made in Germany”, 40 to 50 years old and still going strong. I have yet to come across a newly manufactured dinky toy, fire truck or police car that makes it through the week…

  51. The Simple Family says:

    I read this this weekend but am just now going to comment. Because I like to wait.

    You could make a lot of decorations this year– won’t require much sewing. I could see a project coming on for the kids! Felt! Sequins!! FUN!

  52. Stacey says:

    Even Toys R Us put out a list of toys NOT made in China:

    http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/500-not-made-in-china-50110507

  53. Meagan says:

    I bought the clock…for myself. Because it still plays that same scratchy old tune and I am immediately thrown back in time a few decades when I…er, my KID…plays with it.

    But yeah, I hear you on the made in China. I tried to go shopping for back-to-school stuff without buying anything China-made and it was ridiculous. Shoes, pencils (I mean, come on..PENCILS? Like we don’t have wood here…), clothes, pencil cases, backpacks…in the end I managed to get everything made in the USA besides shoes. I ran out of steam and time.

    But all these recalls have kinda forced me to re-examine the way I shop, you know? I’ve known for a long time that my/our entitlement complex when it comes to wanting–even thinking we DESERVE–cheap, plentiful goods was kinda messed up, but I more or less continued on autopilot anyway. Or my attempts to buy more consciously sputtered out as soon as I had a budget or time crunch. I’m almost glad that now I really HAVE TO think and act and buy differently. I think our Christmas is going to be very low on things this year and heavier on experiential stuff like lessons, tickets, maybe a family trip. But that’s not a bad thing.

  54. Chandra says:

    I like where everyone is going with this. Mostly, I like the comments that favored buying less and focusing on other things. Why does Christmas have to be about presents. We only have one child (two more on the way) but he is two and will go through another Christmas with zero presents from his parents. He doesn’t need any b/c of hand me downs or the fact that my in-laws are spoiling him rotten (grrr…..).

    So with that I think that saving money for family vacations is an excellent idea. I’m one of eleven kids and ten years ago we decided to forgo presents forever and do a family vacation (reunion) every couple years (now bumped up to every 18 months). It’s such a blast and has meant more to us kids then any amount of unnecessary gifts would have. The youngest was five when this started and it didn’t phase him at all (not receiving gifts).

    I am not trying to come across harshly or judge anyone who does feel the need to go all out for various holidays but your kids won’t miss what they don’t have. Go for some family fun and homemade gifts!!

    Happy Holidays!

    Great post Chris :)

  55. Shash says:

    I said the same thing about sticks and twigs too. Really sad that we have to scrutinize everything before we bring it home, yes?

    Shash

  56. Charlotte says:

    Just an aside, the Le Creuset I got from Williams Sonoma says made in France.

    Here’s a snippet from their website:

    “Le Creuset pots and pans are handcrafted in northern France at a factory founded in 1925. Each piece is sand cast from a single mold that is then destroyed, so no two pieces are alike.”

    Their factory is in Fresnoy-le-Grand, or at least should be.

  57. Candy says:

    Is such a thing even possible?

    I will have to resort to growing my own pot and handing that out as gifts. My 14 year old will say this was his best Christmas ever. Sigh.

  58. Annette says:

    I’m sewing quilts this year for my family members, and was at J****’s the other day. About 1/3 of the quilting fabric was crunchy, poorly woven and stunk like chemicals–What?! I looked at the top of the bolt. Made in China. Sheesh. So now I have to pick through the raw materials to hand make my Christmas presents.

  59. Lara says:

    I’m not a parent, so perhaps I am coming at this from a different angle, but from having spent time in China (a lot of time), I would not discriminate my buying necessarily from where a product was made. The UK (or in this case, the USA) don’t have the desire or cheap labour to finance the running of these factories, and I have seen first hand the positive influence of factories in China.
    Obviously there are some awful factories with forced/child labour, but in some areas of China these factories are genuinely life savers. Communities rely upon and are based around factories for all sorts of consumer goods, and willingly travel miles each day to work in these factories. The small amount of money they are paid allow them to do things they would never have been able to do in the past on their agricultural, subsistance living - they can travel, and afford luxuries such as basic medical care.
    I don’t think I am explaining this very well. From my political economy notes from last year, since the 1970’s and China’s economy evolving from command to market, over 200million people have been lifted from poverty… I can understand that the recent, awful news of the toys from China is unacceptable, however I would be inclined to question the testing and safety procedures of the company who produce/distribute/supply the material for the item, rather than condemn all Chinese made items? I don’t know - I wouldn’t necessaryly equate ‘China free’ with safe, and especially vice-versa.
    But then, perhaps if I were a parent, and not just an 18yr old political economist fan then I would have a different opinion. All this aside, I personally have hippy/marxist leftwing secret wistful longings and the 3 C’s of consumerism, capitalism and corporatism are all areas which I am not entirely sure I am for. Which I think contradicts my pro-China opinion… one day I will figure out my 3 C’s stance! :)

  60. tracey says:

    I just feel like I don’t know who to trust anymore :( I mean my daughter has a mega bloks dora rainbow rock set, and some magazine in Canada published an article stating the yellow mega bloks toys tested positive for lead, but mega bloks are adamant that the tests weren’t accurate. And the CPSC has an article stating that the home lead testing kits aren’t accurate, so everyone should wait until recalls are announced. Would that be before or after my children have a positive lead test? We’ve been through this already, our oldest tested positive for lead, most likely from some source in our 1915 house. We cleaned like crazy and changed out a carpet that might have been a reservoir for lead paint dust, and her levels have dropped. Now I don’t know if her toys are safe, she won’t have much left to play with when I put up everything with yellow paint on it. I’m mad, there should not be lead in ANYTHING! I don’t care if toys cost more, I want them to be SAFE!

  61. pickel says:

    ew. Did not know that. I will contact them. Thanks! I try to stay up on each of the companies on the list but with so many recalls now it is hard.

  62. heather says:

    Thanks for the Not Made in China link…I linked back to your site and that one!

  63. single mom with tiny tot says:

    this may sound weird but…maybe this whole lead-in-the-toy scare will mean people will stop being so consumer-obsessed…okay, i can always dream.

  64. lotus07 says:

    This may be going on an extreme tangent here, but it isn’t the status that concerns me, but where it is going. Manufacturing of cheap consumer goods always tends to move to where the cheapest labor is and the healthiest economic incentive. It used to be the American Midwest in the 1950s, then it moved to South America and Japan, now it has gravitated to China and India.

    Where to next. We are running out of new sources of cheap manufacturing to create our McDonald Land Happy Meal toys and Movie Tie-In Drink lids at Burger King. Creating these manufacturing zones tends to lift up the economic base and soon China will have that growing middle-class, just like we did in the 1960s and 70s. What then? The planet can’t continue to support rampant consumerism. We are running out of resources, both physical and industrial.

  65. carrien says:

    I read, in an independent news article that although Schliech figures are made in China, the company is very hands on at the factories and carefully supervises production. So they at least may be low risk.

    i suppose that could just be wishful thinking since the Boy was given a very cool set this summer and I haven’t the heart to dispose of them. yet…

  66. Qalballah says:

    Er like why are we picking on China all of a sudden? Isn’t that Chinist? Or something? Germany make lovely wooden toys - Ostheimer and Spiel und Holz. Wood is better than plastic anyway.

  67. caroline says:

    China got picked on because it hasn’t been a peaceful and responsible country. Unlike Japan which is using the money they earned for product innovation, china is using the money they earned from us to build more and more assault weapons like long-range missles, submarine, aircraft carrier, etc. It is currently threatening its neighboring country like Japan, Korea and Taiwan while secretly preparing to next world-wide invasion, just like the Nazi did before the world war II. It is also behind terrorist countries like Iran, North Korean and are providing financial assistance to many governments in African countries for committing genocide.

    The corporates have been trying to convince us about the “world is flat”, however, not every country is the same. I have no problem if the products are made in democratic country like India or maybe other democratic Asian or South American countries. But China is a NO for me.

    Just like offering the social awareness mutual funds, our corporates need to continue to provide us a choice where as a consumer, we can choose to purchase the products which were made in a peaceful and democratic countries. Not everyone want to buy cheap (and poisonous) products and I have found many people who don’t mind to pay extra for better and social awareness products. The corporates needs to provide us the choice.