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A report issued by Consumers Union on December 2 contains troubling news for consumers, expecially parents. CU’s report, title "Still Not Safe," notes that 2008 set a new record for recalls by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission,563 for 2008, up from 473 in 2007. According to the report, that equals more than 43 million products recalled between October 1, 2007 and September 30, 2008 (CSPC’s product year). And, equally troubling, "nearly 97 percent of all recalled products were foregn made; 81 percent came from China."

As noted by CU, recalls are not the answer; CSPC, even with new authority and new, tougher standards, simply lacks the ability to effectively police the market. The HUGE numbers of products sold, and CSPC’s limited budget and staff, make reliance on recalls too dangerous for consumers. Recalls, remember, only target products already in the stream of commerce, products already in our homes and in our children’s hands.

The real solution is prevention, ensureing that toy makers and suppliers adequately inspect and test their products before they enter the market, to ensure that only safe toys reach our children. Until then, especially during these difficult economic times, parents need to be especially vigilant; be careful and check the CSPC recall site to make sure the toy you’re buying for Christmas has not been recalled.

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