Barbie: a Hazard to Your Health?

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jlfarm07's picture
Joined: 09/03/2008
Barbie: a Hazard to Your Health?

Over the past several years there has been a whole slew of children’s toys recalled due to health hazards, one of the most common being lead-based paint.  What parents would have hoped to be safe, enjoyable toys in many cases have turned out to be life-threatening.  In the winter 2008 article of Ms. Magazine , E. Marla Felcher brought to light issues occurring in the blame-game that has become toy-recall.  There exists a small following of individuals, mothers being the majority, who have been arduously fighting the toy production industry.  Comprised of predominantly men, this $29 million toy and baby-product industry has made available toys constructed with dangerous materials.  One woman who is leading this fight against the toy industry is Rachel Waintraub.  This mother of two is a lawyer who advocates producer’s of children’s toys and the governments that regulate them to improve the safety requirements on their products.

Sadly, about 250,000 children and babies every year fall victim to these toxic toys.  In the past, advocates for such safety measures weren’t able to have much of a voice when trying to promote the implementation of laws promoting requirements for toy safety.  It is only recently that the government has taken notice and legislation has been proposed to increase fines of producing hazardous toys.  Fines also exist for companies that attempt to conceal deaths or other injuries of children as a result of their products.  It is the hope that other safety measures can be made law to prevent such occurrences.

As a defense against their toys, many manufacturers either blame the parents (typically the mother) or they attempt to make the hazard seem less lethal.  Mother’s are blamed for being negligent when in reality you can’t watch your child’s every movement.  It is impossible, yet companies are accusing women of such injustices as an attempt to cover their, sometimes fatal, shortcomings.  The passing of a bill to prevent even more child injuries and deaths seems promising, especially since it already passed in the House.  Only time will tell if manufacturers will stop thinking solely of their personal gain and start to consider their consumers.