With the many column inches dedicated to dangerous / poisonous / badly designed / recalled toys that were “made in China”, one might think that there was a global crisis, with children suffering from every interaction with their Thomas tank engines, Pooh bears and other favorite playthings.
However, while the risks are obvious, the actual harm – thankfully – seems to have been limited. As Access Asia  points out in its newsletter:
“Some clear lessons are obvious – bad manufacturers need to be punished; lazy easy profit chasing western corporations need to police their supply chains more (or even at all) and consumers might want to prepare themselves to pay a little more on the High Street. All this has been poured over, speculated upon, conclusions drawn and recommendations made, but one question has bothered us – if all these Chinese products are so dangerous, how many people have they killed?
…All those millions of toys with lead paint recalled, yet the Guardian has reported, “there have been no reports of illness or injury anywhere in the world.” In a long report on the lead paint scare, McClatchy Newspapers managed to find one death – in March 2006, a 4-year-old Minnesota boy died of lead poisoning after swallowing a metal charm that came with his Reebok shoes. Terrible, but consider that 1,400 children under the age of 18 were killed by guns in the USA last year, according to USA Today – no recalls happening there we note, and none were made in China.”
Interesting (if somewhat politically sensitive) analysis.
As with everything else involving China and The Media, context and facts are important if businesses and consumers are to be left with a balanced view of the very real (but, hopefully, manageable) problems that exist.