China’s problems with lead in consumer products go far beyond tainted toys.
From playthings to paint to petrol, Chinese companies use lead in a wide range of products and experts say China’s children are suffering the health consequences.
Beijing has prohibited leaded petrol in recent years and has tightened standards for other goods.
But enforcement is spotty, and lead is still so common that researchers say up to one-fifth of Chinese children tested had unsafe levels in their blood.
“The central government many times has regulations in place, but given China’s size, a lot of things don’t get implemented at the local level,” said Jamie Choi, a campaigner in Beijing for the environmental group Greenpeace.
In China’s latest product safety incident, Mattel Inc. is recalling 18.2 million Chinese-made toys produced with lead paint.
The US toy giant said its supplier, Early Light Industrial Co, hired a subcontractor for painting that violated Mattel’s rules by using paint from an outside source instead of Early Light.
Managers at Early Light’s Hong Kong headquarters and its factory in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen did not respond to phone calls seeking comment today.