Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
On toys, no company should trust China
By A TIMES EDITORIAL
Published August 19, 2007
If Mattel can't get it right on product safety, who can? The nation's largest toymaker, Mattel had a reputation for holding its Chinese manufacturers to strict standards. Yet that didn't save the company from two recent recalls of more than 19-million toys for lead paint or loose magnets, including popular items from the Sesame Street, Barbie and Disney Cars product lines.
Mattel handled the recalls responsibly. Company CEO Bob Eckert recorded a video apology that sounded sincere and promised to do better in the future. The company even admitted that the problem with small magnets coming loose in some toys was the fault of its own design rather than shoddy manufacturing.
That said, you have to wonder how Mattel let itself get into this predicament. It trusted its Chinese suppliers too much. In the case of the "Sarge" vehicle from the Cars line, a subcontractor fraudulently used paint containing lead from an unauthorized supplier.
Now Mattel has a new three-point safety system: It will test each batch of paint used in Chinese factories, conduct unannounced inspections and test each production run before it is shipped to customers. Mattel should have been taking those pragmatic steps all along, though you have to give the company credit for learning from its mistakes.
Then there are the less ethical producers of children's products. "If Mattel, with all of its emphasis on quality and testing, found such a widespread problem, what do you think is happening in the rest of the toy industry, in the apparel industry and even in the low-end electronics industry?" S. Prakash Sethi, a professor and independent monitor of Mattel factories, told the New York Times. "Everyone is going to be found with lots of dirty laundry."
It should be well established now that any company using Chinese manufacturers, particularly for children's products, must be skeptical of quality control. "I didn't know" is no longer a valid excuse for selling dangerous products from China.
Parents can't afford to wait for the slow-moving Consumer Product Safety Commission to act decisively. They have no choice but to become more savvy consumers to better protect their children. Help is available at consumer advocacy groups such as U.S. PIRG (www.uspirg.org) and Consumers Union (www.consumersunion.org). Toymakers that can't assure the safety of their products deserve to fail.