Lead, mercury and other environmental toxins have been on the minds of many people lately due to the seemingly never ending flow of product recalls continually making headlines.
But what about the items you may have missed seeing notifications about? Are the toys you purchased a while back among the products removed from sale? Does that old lunch box you put your food in pose a danger to your health and the environment?
Many governments and consumer groups now make online databases available where you can search for products that have been recalled. Here’s some of those resources in various countries:
Australia – Recalls.gov.au current product recall information based on notifications provided to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer.
New Zealand – Consumer.org – information on product recalls and safety warnings
USA – USCPSC U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission advanced search feature
Canada – Health Canada advisories, warnings and recalls
UK – Trading Standards search feature
European Union – RAPEX is the EU rapid alert system for all dangerous consumer products, with the exception of food, pharmaceutical and medical devices.
While there’s many, many, many other products still available that should also be removed from sale, sometimes it takes months, years, even decades for governments to take action on toxic goods – and that’s another story altogether.
If we were to suddenly remove all environmental nasties from store shelves, there would be a lot of empty shelves and our economies would collapse very quickly. It’s going to take an incredibly long time to put even a small dent in the range of toxic items available to consumers. Still, this heightened awareness and level of recalls we’ve been seeing of late is a good start.
If you do find a recalled item in your possession, don’t just toss it out or stash it away, make sure you return it to the place of purchase or to the manufacturer so the manufacturer bears the cost of repairing or responsibly disposing of it. Also, laying the blame squarely on China for all these recalls as some are doing is probably a little misdirected – in many ways, we’re just reaping what we’ve sown.