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On November 7, 2007, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Spin Master, of Toronto, Canada, announced a voluntary recall of Aqua Dots. The toys, manufactured in China, consisted of tiny colored beads that stick together when sprayed with water, forming fun designs and shapes. The beads were supposed to be made with a nontoxic compound found in glue, but instead the Aqua Dots beads were coated with an industrial solvent that if ingested, the body converts it into GHB, also know as the "date rape" drug. The compound can induce unconsciousness, seizures, drowsiness, coma and death. The recall was issued after two children who swallowed the beads reportedly became violently ill immediately, and symptoms included repetitive vomiting, seizures and ultimately a comatose state. Fortunately, both children fully recovered.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) alleged that Spin Master continued to sell Aqua Dots while receiving complaints it was sickening children with a version of the date rape drug, gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB),and knowingly failed to report a defect and hazard associated with Aqua Dots. It also accused the company of knowingly importing and selling a banned hazardous substance. Today, the commission plans to announced that Spin Master will pay $1.3 million, the third largest toy-related penalty issued by the CPSC. Spin Master denied the allegations saying it settled the matter to "avoid further costly legal expenses."

This lawsuit is another harsh reality about the lack of safety standards especially among products manufactured in China. Over 90% of tainted products are manufactured in China. Why? Because it is cheaper! Do US corporations that send work to China care about recalls? No! Do they care about safety? No! Do they care about quality? No! Think that I am being too cynical? Check out the Consumer Product Safety Commission list of recalled products from China.

The CPSC says it recognizes that more must be done to prevent the importation of hazardous toys and other products from China, but are they working quickly enough to save our children? It astounds me that we continue tolerate this level of ineptitude and non-adherence to safety standards at the risk of illness and injury to our citizens. These corporate types can injure our people, our environment, make people sick, even kill them, apparently, with impunity. Why does our government permit this, year after year, decade after decade? These greedy corporations don’t seem to even care about lawsuits anymore because tort reform protects them. They care about one thing only – profits!

"Tort reform" is a concept that favors corporate profits over a person’s right to pursue litigation to its just conclusion. Foreign corporations are protected from citizen’s lawsuits or their liabilities for damages are protected by an artificial and antiquated damages "cap". Corporate financial "bailouts" are favored by politicians while the tax burdens are assumed by ordinary citizens. Who is protecting our children?

Across the country, lawsuits are being filed on behalf of parents against toy companies and retailers, to compensate families and to ensure that companies take steps to prevent more accidents. The single most important safety device against corporate America is the threat of a lawsuit. Fight back for the safety of your children. Additionally, I urge parents to sign up for the CPSC’s automated notification system at the www.cpsc.gov, to stay abreast of toy recalls.

Mark Bello has thirty-three years experience as a trial lawyer and twelve years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by plaintiffs involved in pending, personal injury litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Business Associate of the Florida, Tennessee, and Colorado Associations for Justice, a member of the American Bar Association as well as their ABA Advisory Committee, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.

One Comment

  1. Wayne

    Wxcellent article Mark. Children and women face increasing risks of developing diseases like cancer because we are being subjected to chemicals in the form of pesticides, like fipronil and industrial sovents like the ones you and the CPSC report in this article. Kids have a long time to live and so the exposures have a lot of time to develop these diseases. Childhood asthmas are a current epidemic due to exposure of kids to pollutants in public schools according to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Also since children have smaller organs, the concetratuion of toxic substance is increased in their bodies making the doses they receieve "non-toxic". I support making companies that put kids and families at risk for death and disease, criminally liable. That is the only way to stop them for using a poison in a product to make more profits and then hope they don't get caught. Foreign manufacturers are also a problem and the Republicans are intent on dismantleing the regulatory process, this making it easy to use dangerous chemicals and to face no consequences. kerep doing the great job that you do ion alerting the public to dangers so they can avoid injury.

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