Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) wants Congress to hold hearings to, as her office put it, "investigate reports of unsafe toys coming from China."
There's no need for much investigating. The government's own figures clearly indicate that of the 72 toys and children's clothing and jewelry items recalled so far this year, 69 came from China. (See list below)
Korea, the Philippines and Bangladesh contributed one each. One item, an Evenflo infant seat, was manufactured jointly in the U.S. and China.
The numbers come from a ConsumerAffairs.Com analysis of the recalls conducted so far this year by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Recalls are listed on the agency's Web site and in the ConsumerAffairs.Com recall section.
Recalled items this year are similar to those in previous years -- children's clothing with dangerous drawstrings, toys with parts that can become detached and choke infants and tiny magnets that can cause intestinal obstructions if swallowed.
This year's recall roster also includes several items of children's jewelry that contain excessive amounts of lead, as well as toys painted with lead-based paint.
Klobuchar, a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee – whose jurisdiction includes product recalls – requested Senate action in analyzing the underlying concerns of toy safety, China’s role and what can be done to safeguard children from potentially harmful products.
Klobuchar and others were especially alarmed by the June 13 recall of 1.5 million Thomas and Friends trains and railroad sets.
The expensive train sets were found to be coated with possible poisonous lead paint. Also recalled because of lead paint were sets of toy drums and a toy bear. An infant wrist rattle was recalled because of a choking hazard.
“As a parent of a 12 year-old and as a Member of the Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs, Insurance and Automotive safety, I am alarmed by these statistics and concerned that the risks our children face in playing with these unsafe toys are not being adequately addressed,” Klobuchar said.
Klobuchar said increased congressional scrutiny over Chinese imported products, including toys, is "essential to ensure the enforcement of existing consumer safety-related regulations and to address any voids or gaps in the law."