Thursday, June 14, 2007

Get the lead out

Lead used to be our friend. We used to use it in pencils, paint, gasoline, and glassware. Then we learned it's a toxin.

That’s why RC2 Corp., the manufacturer of the popular Thomas the Tank Engine toys, yesterday recalled 22 items with lead in their surface paint. And why on Tuesday Crimzon Rose Accessories recalled 5,300 silver stud earring sets because they also contain high levels of lead. It’s not easy to get the lead out. Someone should really tell China about this.

I checked into several government agencies to see what else we consumers should be staying away from. Yesterday Cannondale recalled 6,700 of 18 different brands of mountain bicycles, some having sold for as much as $6,500, because a defect may cause riders to lose control of the bicycle, fall and suffer serious injuries.

Also yesterday the Globe Fire Sprinkler Corp. of Standish, MI recalled 300,000 sprinkler heads because, well, they fail to work when there’s a fire. If you have one of these the company is generously offering to provide you with a replacement for just $9. Let’s do the math: Make and sell a product to save your life that doesn’t work, and then reap an additional $2.7 million in sales, using the press at no charge to get the word out. Excuse me but if I had one of these sprinkler heads I’d be asking Globe Fire to pay for both my replacement sprinkler head and its reinstallation.

Not even vegans can escape product recalls. On Tuesday WholeSoy and Co. recalled 88,000 cups of Blueberry and Mixed Berry yogurt because they may contain undeclared dairy. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to dairy run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

Maybe we should just stick to lead, it might be safer!

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