June 14, 2007

Are You OK? Rubbernecking The Thomas Train Wreck


Feast your eyes on all the Thomas & Friends™ Wooden Railway Toys models that were recalled because their paint contains levels of toxic lead, aka the element voted Most Likely To Keep Your Kid Out of Harvard.

The recall covers toys sold between January 2005 and June 2007 [hey, that's today!], but does not include toys marked with codes “WJ” or “AZ”. If you have any of these toys, get them away from your kid, and then contact Thomas's corporate overlord, RC2.

If Consumerists' accounts of repossessed birthday presents and unreimbursed shipping costs are any indication, Thomas might not have many friends left. Have you been run over by this train? Any tips for getting your lead-threatened child back on track? Any more annoying puns before this post rolls off the rails?

Also, I'm very interested to see how this recall actually came together. ABC News makes it sound like the CPSC has actually stepped up lead-related investigations and recalls. These Thomas toys have been on the market for two years, and I'm sure (?) they haven't been quietly accumulating reports of lead poisoning until they had enough to spur a recall. Right?? Otherwise it makes me wonder how much lead-laced product is just out there, hanging around.

RC2 Corp. Recalls Various Thomas & Friends™ Wooden Railway Toys Due to Lead Poisoning Hazard [cpsc.gov]
Chinese Poison Train [consumerist]


Hmm.. the Bush administration is butting heads with China over trade, and they happen to find lead paint in Thomas products produced in China.. surely, it is just a coincidence...

We have every Thomas train. Well over 200. We started to buy them for my son in 2003. My son's development started to digress in 2005 when he was 3 years old. His speech didn't develop and his motor skills started to lag behind. We had him and my wife tested for heavy metal poisoning in Sept. 2006. We figured that if it was environmental that it would show in her along with him. Hers was below normal and His lead levels were off the chart. We couldn't understand what was causing it because they were exposed to the same environmental and dietary sources. Now we know. He is now in speech therapy, physical therapy and is going to be held back a year in school. The company which owns Thomas the train is going to pay for this. I want blood. I have an Attorney. We will be filing suit.

you certainly have my deepest sympathies.

Be prepared to have EVERYTHING in your whole world checked for lead content (walls, dust in vents, dirt in the yard near the house, etc) depending on the age of your home. Because toddlers have orders of magnitude more hand-to-mouth contact than adults they can pick up a LOT more lead.

If anyone ever wanted an argument for trade sanctions/stiffer regulation with China... here you go. I can only believe this problem is going to get a LOT bigger, and worlds worse, before it gets better.

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