Minor Thoughts from me to you

Dangerous Toys, Redux

Toy manufacturers want to regulate toys coming into the United States, looking for dangerous materials like lead paint. But what's the real cause of dangerous toys?

Design flaws, not Chinese manufacturing problems, are the cause of the vast majority of American toy recalls over the last two decades, according to a new study by two Canadian professors.

The study, which looked at toy-recall data going back to 1988, showed that some 76 percent of the recalls in that period involved design flaws that could result in hazards like choking or swallowing small parts, while 10 percent were caused by manufacturing flaws, like excessive levels of lead paint.

The study, written by Hari Bapuji, a professor at the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba and Paul W. Beamish, from the Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, suggests that while China's manufacturing troubles were a serious problem, toy companies needed to take more responsibility for the growing number of recalls.

"I'm not saying there is no problem with Chinese manufacturing," Professor Bapuji said in a telephone interview yesterday. "I'm just saying there is a bigger problem with designs."

Sounds like regulation wouldn't help nearly as much as the big companies want you to think it would. But it would still hurt their competitors plenty.

Needless to say, I'm still opposed to the idea.