Jan 14, 2008
The Toxic Toy Parade will march into Kalamazoo
Instead of the parade of the toy soldiers, the United Steelworkers (USW) and dozens of allied community, environmental, health organizations, the AFL-CIO and other labor groups from across the nation are holding a toxic toy parade to demand Congress take immediate action to protect Americans from the USW says are a dangerous threat posed by the millions of lead-laced toys and other unsafe products infiltrating the country.
“The massive toy recalls this holiday season drew attention to the much larger problem of the countless dangerous imports – tires, toothpaste, fake drugs, pet food – making their way on to U.S. store shelves,” said USW President Leo W. Gerard, in a press release announced the USW “Protect Our Kids – Stop Toxic Imports” campaign set to begin Wednesday. “People are starting to realize that we’re paying the price for cheap, imported goods so corporations can make bigger profits. “
The USW is calling for support for the U.S. Food and Product Responsibility Act, introduced in the U.S. Senate by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and in the House by U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.). This legislation would safeguard Americans against toxic food and products by shifting the responsibility on to the backs of the companies producing the goods and the importers importing them.
Over the past few months the USW Women of Steel have conducted lead screening tests in more than 25 cities across North America to educate families about the threat of lead contaminated toys and other products. They conducted Tupperwre-like house parties in people’s homes just before Christmas where they brought a toy to be tested for lead. The union is also offering the free screening kits that were used at the parties, and they are very easy to use.
In Michigan, the Toxic Toy Parade of Concerned Citizens will be visiting downtown Kalamazoo and U.S. Rep. Fred Upton’s, R-St. Joseph, office, at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16 to illustrate the importance of this issue. The Congressman will be presented with a toy for charity and a lead test kit. The office is located at 157 S. Kalamazoo Mall. A hazardous waste barrel will be available for those wishing to drop off lead contaminated toys.
Beginning with the recall of 1.5 million Thomas the Tank Engine toys in June 2007, more than 6 million toys have been recalled for high levels of lead. Lead can cause a variety of health problems, including learning disabilities, stunted growth, kidney damage and even death. Other toxic imports include lipstick, toothpaste, seafood, children’s lunchboxes and pet food.