From China to San Francisco–Beware of Dangerous Products

Skimming over the news today I noticed another article regarding recalled products. This time, according the Associated Press, the recalled products are fitness balls, made in China and manufactured by New York based EB Brands. The fitness balls have been recalled because the balls can unexpectedly burst during use if they are over inflated. The company received reports of people sustaining fractures and multiple bruises when they fell after balls had burst. In the same article, another recall alert was posted for Shape-O Toy Maracas imported by Tupperware. This toy was also made in China. The toys are considered hazardous because they can brake and expose small parts, which children can choke on. The handles are also a suffocation hazard for children.
This issue of hazardous products manufactured in China is becoming more and more prevalent. Whose fault is it that these products are injuring consumers? Is it China for not ensuring products manufactured in their country are safe, or our fault, for not monitoring or inspecting imports? Product safety lies with both exporters in China and importers in the United States. When companies here choose to do business with the world’s leading manufacturing power, they need to ensure quality and safe standards are met within the entire supply chain. Companies are often not dealing with only one supplier, but often are dealing with the supplier’s suppliers. The sourcing becomes invisible when companies choose China to manufacture their goods, potentially placing the innocent U.S. consumer at risk. In the wake of massive product recalls, we need to wake up to the fact there seems to be a serious lack of integrity at all business levels on all sides. Just as we need a huge overhaul in our nation’s food safety regulatory agencies, we also need an improvement in how we choose to produce and manufacture products. More stringent laws and regulations must be applied to companies that choose to commit fraud against consumer safety. In the meantime, injured people are left to seek recourse in our civil system.