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More harmful toys have been added to the long list of harmful products made in China and imported to the United States. The list of defective products is a long one including items such as toothpaste, juice, tires and even counterfeit drugs.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on Thursday announced three recalls that cover jewelry the agency said could cause lead poisoning, and a magnetic building set and plastic castles with small parts that it said could choke children. Some 20,000 of Essentials for Kids Jewelry sold by Future Industries, of Cliffwood Beach, N.J., were recalled because the metal jewelry sets contain high levels of lead that can be toxic if ingested by young children, the agency said. Additionally, 800 Mag Stix Magnetic Building Sets sold by Kipp Brothers, of Carmel, Ind., and 68,000 Shape Sorting Toy Castles sold by Infantino LLC, of San Diego, were pulled because they posed choking hazards to young children.

That the toy jewelry could cause lead poisoning is particularly troublesome because the danger is hidden from the consumer, the injury is difficult to detect without extensive medical testing and the effects may be long lasting and severe. Lead poisoning is a serious problem.

When a person swallows a lead object or inhales lead dust, some of the poison can stay in the body and cause serious health problems. A single high, toxic dose of lead can cause severe emergency symptoms. However, it is more common for lead poisoning to build up slowly over time. This occurs from repeated exposure to small amounts of lead. In this case, there may not be any obvious symptoms, but the lead can still cause serious health problems over time, such as difficulty sleeping or lowered IQ in children.

The moral of the story is an old one: Caveat Emptor, especially when purchasing products with the label “Made in China”. Thankfully we have product liability laws in the United States to protect consumers from dangerous products like these.

For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Defective and Dangerous Products.

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