Villain: Unsafe Toys
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Villain: Unsafe Toys

Torontoist is ending the year by naming our Heroes and Villains of 2007––the people, places, and things that we’ve either fallen head over heels in love with or developed uncontrollable rage towards over the past twelve months. Get your dose, starting Boxing Day and running into the new year, three times a day––sunrise, noon, and sunset.
This year, there were several recalls of unsafe childrens’ toys being sold in Canada, many of which were made in China. Among them one toy that contained a chemical which converted into date rape drug GHB when its candy-shaped parts were ingested . At least fourteen unlucky children—none reported from Canada, thankfully—were treated for GHB poisoning, with symptoms including vomiting, convulsions, seizures, and comas.
Our government is responsible for this failure to safeguard Canadians. They may be flooded by the huge number of imported goods needing to be screened and tested, but that only attests to the need for additional staff and resources in this area. The Harper government came under fire for this issue, and recently announced The Food and Consumer Safety Plan in an effort to counter these hazardous products.
The foreign manufacturers of dangerous products should also be held accountable. There are no excuses to jeopardize the health and safety of Canadians (or any consumers). Our standards exist for a reason, and China would do well to adopt similar safety guidelines, especially where toxic items like lead paint are concerned. International standards should be created and mandated to protect consumers in all countries equally.
Photo by Kathryn Bailey from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.