From: Reuters
Published September 11, 2007 02:52 PM

U.S. and China promise Americans lead-free toys

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. and Chinese officials agreed on Tuesday to take immediate action to stop the use of lead paint in toys made in China following a spate of recalls that has scared American parents ahead of holiday shopping.


Nancy Nord, acting chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), said two days of talks with her Chinese counterpart indicated China was serious about helping keep hazardous products off the market.


"We are working very hard to assure that the marketplace is safe," she said on the second day of talks between the CPSC and China's General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ)


"Our colleagues at AQSIQ have agreed to immediately develop a comprehensive plan to ensure that Chinese exports comply with U.S. laws banning lead paint on toys as well as with China's own rules that prohibit its use," said Nord.


The Sino-US Consumer Product Safety Summit, which follows an inaugural 2005 round in Beijing, comes after months of toy and other product recalls and discoveries of unsafe imports from China.


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Nord and AQSIQ Vice-minister Wei Chuanzhong also agreed to improve safety standards of electrical goods, cigarette lighters and fireworks, they told a news conference.


"The Chinese government agrees to coordinate plans to guarantee the safety and health standards of the products, including toys, exported to the U.S.," Wei said.


On Monday, the New York Times reported that Walt Disney Co will start its own testing of toys featuring Disney characters following recalls of Mattel Inc toys found to have unsafe levels of lead paint.


Other toymakers and importers have taken similar steps to improve inspections ahead of Christmas gift shopping season.


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