When I was a child, I had many dolls, many in which I still own (I hear I can get a lot of money for them on eBay).  Barbie dolls, Ken dolls, and Rainbow Brite dolls.  Oh, the good ol’ days.  However, what astonishes me is that not once did I ever have to worry about them leaving me brain damaged.  Is this a new feature?  In my day dolls came with accessories, dream houses and pull strings.  I am only 22 years old.  How the times have changed. 

According to a recent article, toy companies have issued recalls for millions of toys made in China that are either tainted with lead or otherwise hazardous to children. Seventy to eighty percent of the world’s toys are made in China, according to Toy Industry Association.  The toy manufacturer, Mattel, leads the way, recalling nearly 19 million toys worldwide and has issued a statement saying that they are working on a “responsible approach” to disposing the “toys” but could not provide details on how to do so. 

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, lead-painted toys fall under the category of products that would need to be destroyed or properly disposed.  This reminds me a bit of the 1976 classic Saturday Night Live skit where Irwin Mainway (Dan Akroyd) made outlandish attempts to show how more commonplace toys were as harmful as Mainway’s.

Let’s think about this for a second, working on a “responsible approach” for disposal but mum’s the word?  Chief executive Bob Eckert wouldn’t even answer a few questions asked by Chris Cuomo regarding the company.  Cuomo grilled Eckert about Mattel’s oversight of manufacturing in China, and asked him how much money the company saves by making toys in China.

“The question of safety is not about the money. It’s about doing the right thing for consumers. Again, we make toys in markets other than China,” Eckert said.

Of course it is a question of safety and money! And doing the right thing for the consumers? Parents are waiting on further details about proper disposal all the while trying to explain to their children why he/she can’t keep their favorite toy anymore because they have to pitch it into the community’s landfill where the lead toxins will only seep into the ground and serve as a lethal additive to our water.  Perfect. Mattel and I have a different definition of responsible and it certainly doesn’t mean keeping the public in the dark.

Communication is the light at the end of the tunnel in times of crisis.  Mattel is leaving toy owners in doubt and quite frankly, not doing themselves any favors releasing information in a not-so expedient manner.  When there is a problem, fix it or tell us how to fix it.  There is no use in saying there is a way to fix it.  The fog will clear soon.  I hope. Or I may have to throw away my dolls. — Jen Hernandez