Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

FOR THE WEEK OF AUG. 20, 2007

Toy recalls expand concern about 'Made in China' items

frontpageactionpoints.gif
1.gif
News of risks from toys made in China is a global business story, as well as a family interest subject with local impact. Ask class members to 'grade' the newspaper on how well it relays the voices and concerns of parents and toy sellers in this area.
2.gif
In addition to helping readers learn about health and safety issues involving food, vehicles and household products, newspapers routinely present news consumers use for buying decisions. Have students look for an example -- such as nutrition tips, reviews of products or entertainment, coverage of new services or items.
3.gif
Some observers say toy recalls show a result of business decisions that put low prices above high quality -- placing short-term benefits ahead of long-term impact and reputation. Similar criticisms are made of other business actions, political decisions and even moves by sports team owners or managers. See if students can think of examples they�ve seen in the paper -- or can find in recent issues.

Every day at home, school and play, we use products imported from China -- the world�s largest manufacturer because of low costs and a vast population of workers. But new doubts about the safety and reliability of Chinese products are spreading after a series of 2007 problems. The latest involves recalls of many millions of well-known toys, mainly because of toxic paint risks.

Serious hazards from products made in China have hit headlines again and again this year. Items pulled from U.S. stores include poisoned pet food, children�s jewelry, contaminated seafood, tainted toothpaste, unsafe tires and now toys painted with lead. An astonishing 19 million toys were recalled by Mattel, the leading U.S. toy company.
Affected playthings include Polly Pocket play sets, Fisher-Price items, Barbie and Tanner play sets, Doggie Day Care, and Batman, Sesame Street, Elmo, Dora the Explorer and Triple Slash Zolo Roronoa action figures. In June, 1.5 million wooden Thomas the Train Engine figures were withdrawn by their U.S. importer because lead paint on parts can sicken kids who lick or chew them. Parents were told to toss out any of the affected toys.

Chinese officials have issued new regulations, shut dozens of factories and suspended exports by plants that made the recalled toys. Overall, the government has punished more than 400 companies for violations in an effort to address growing world concern about the safety of Chinese-made goods.

Mattel says: "The safety of children is our primary concern, and we are deeply apologetic to everyone affected. Mattel has rigorous procedures, and we will continue to be vigilant and unforgiving in enforcing quality and safety." -- Robert A. Eckert, chairman and chief executive officer

China says: "China places great emphasis on the safety of children. We really care about toy safety -- not only in exports, but also in this country. China is responsible. We'll investigate the cases and severely deal with the companies involved." -- Commerce Ministry spokesman

Bigger issue: �We have a product quality crisis on our hands, one that is so big it could upset the entire economic relationship between the United States and China.� � Steven G. Brant, business writer and blogger

Front Page Talking Points is written by Felix Grabowski and Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2014
We welcome comments or suggestions for future topics: Click here to Comment

Front Page Talking Points Archive

Federal response to Ebola grows as missteps spread concern

Video games can lift young players’ mood and social skills if not used excessively, new study suggests

University of Michigan football controversy renews focus on concussion risks

Millions of miles from Earth, a U.S. spacecraft orbits Mars to explore its atmosphere

Auto racing goes green: Battery-powered cars reach 140 mph in new Formula E series

Videogame ‘athletes:’ Are you college scholarship material?

Meet an extinct beast: Newly identified dinosaur had a 37-foot neck, 30-foot tail

E-cigarettes prompt new health concerns about young users, targeted with ads and flavors

Strong arm: Mo’ne Davis, 13, becomes a national baseball star with her blazing fastball

Fatal police shooting of unarmed teen focuses national attention on Ferguson, Missouri

Complete archive