Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Blamed In China

I heard/watched two news stories today the dealt with the current recall of Mattel toys. One on NPR's Morning Edition and one on ABC's World News.

Of course, it's the same issue, so the stories are very similar. But the NPR story makes one very important point that's missing from the ABC story, and from this Associated Press story in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. A number of the recalled toys are being recalled because they have small magnets in them, and children have been known to swallow these magnets, which can then cause lethal intestinal damage. But this is a problem with the design of the toys, which was done in the United States, not with the manufacture of the toys. In fact, these are toys that escaped an earlier recall, when Mattel first learned of the issue and corrected the designs, late last year.

I'm reminded of the constant criticism that was leveled against Japan in the late 70's and early 80's. Now, as then, some of the criticism is valid. But it's important, I think, to avoid conflating valid criticism with uninformed criticism, as all of it begins then to lose credibility.

1 comment:

august said...

Good catch. I was thinking of trying to post on a similar issue -- my guess is that product complaints/recalls have not increased at all, it's just that so much is manufactured in China that the bulk of issues happen there. Been lazy about digging up data.

On Darwin -- I'd read it.