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Fixing the Misfit Toys

Posted December 30, 2007 6:28 AM

The U.S. recalled 25 million toys in 2007. Those toys held just a 1% market share. It's clear that lead content in toys has just slightly dented the industry with little impact from a consumer perspective. Given the necessity of lead to preserve durability, for instance, what alternatives do toy manufacturers have and how will the future of toys be affected, if at all?

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#1

Re: Fixing the Misfit Toys

12/31/2007 11:23 AM

Given the necessity of lead to preserve durability, for instance,....

That is an absurd statement. There is no need for any significant amount of lead in any children's toy's.

I am however, shocked by the ever decreasing quality of children's toys. It is also shocking to see big names such as Spiderman, Matchbox and countless others which are licensing their name to anything that sells. Some of which literally disgusts me in it's sub-par or nonexistent workmanship.

All in all, there is no quality to speak of. All toys are highly disposable, intermittently functional and consistently inconsistent.

The Tonka name is an exception to the rule. As is John Deere who makes a good number of fun replica toys. I also do well with Nerf and some of the Euro toys. And the kids and I really enjoy the well made German Playmobile toys. (It helps to have a close cousin who manages an independent toy store - Terra Toys)

I have many children in my life. It is sad that I am at a disadvantage in trying to share the joy of having a toy I was given when I was 4 which is now sitting on a shelf, well worn but still functional some 34 years later. In fact my 4 and 2 year old boys have toys from when I was their ages - and those toys aren't about to quit even now.

There is little name recognition any longer. There is less nostalgia. There are more batteries and beeps. All in all there seems to be much less American pride in the near extinct American Toy.

If it is true that one can not judge a book by it's cover, then I suggest it doubly so of toys. "One should not judge a toy by it's box"

cr3

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Fixing the Misfit Toys

12/31/2007 2:58 PM

Planned obsolescence - one of the most disgusting marketing tools ever devised. As of today, I am forty-twenty, and I still have (only a few, but a few) toys from my childhood that are worn but playable. And if you shop flea markets and "collectables" shops, you'll see toys from the 1800's through the 1960's - but hardly anything newer survives. (FYI - 40-20 is additive...)

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Fixing the Misfit Toys

12/31/2007 5:43 PM

What impact will the disposal of toys painted with lead-based paint have on the environment?

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#5
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Re: Fixing the Misfit Toys

01/02/2008 7:32 AM

Presuming proper disposal procedures, should be no negative impacts (at least none we are smart enough to foresee). All of the "stuff" that get buried in our landfills - consider that someday those landfills may be the source of resources - like mining ore deposits. A few years ago I read an interesting statistic. Back when the incandescent light was invented, and the tungsten filament shown to be the best choice, 80% of the world supply of tungsten was found in ore bodies in Indonesia. So we went to Indonesia and mined tungsten ore. By about 1980, an estimated 80% of the world supply of tungsten was located in landfills in Europe and North America in the form of burned out light bulb filaments. Where is the most logical place to go looking for tungsten today if you need some really bad?

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#6
In reply to #1

Re: Fixing the Misfit Toys

01/02/2008 10:25 AM

As a kid I used to work at Tonka Canada (RIP) for a few summers and I just recently saw one of their new products. They may be better than anything else on the market today but that is not saying much. Compared to what was made back in the 80's todays Tonka products would be laughed at as cheap import wannabes made mostly from plastic and crudely fabricated metal parts.

Now why the lead? Because its either a cheap bright colouring agent or is used in the PVC used in making the cheap plastic parts. Bottom line is bottom dollar and maximum profit per unit produced.

In a previous incarnation I was QC/QA in the TOY industry and what I saw and experienced would shock and appal anyone but the eternal pessimist.

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#2

Re: Fixing the Misfit Toys

12/31/2007 1:44 PM

I am interested in hearing about the necessity of lead use in toys. Could you explain that in more detail, where it is used, by who, for what purpose, and what alternatives exist that are not being used in China?

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