More Asbestos Toys from China Arrive Down Under

There are those who now say that “Made in China” is actually a warning label.
Asbestos toys–in the form of Planet Toys’ CSI kit–were in the U.S. news during the holiday season, although it was hardly the top story in the mainstream media–so of course, we reported it here at Amazingly, this writer found four of the kits for sale in an outlet store located in his home community near Portland, Oregon, where overstocks and unsold merchandise from a major membership retailer are sold at a discount. (The store attendant on duty was duly informed.) Meanwhile, a different kind of asbestos toy has arrived in the Land Down Under–and Aussies are not amused. It’s not front page news in Australia either, but Ben Doherty, who writes for Melbourne’s newspaper The Age, reports that toy remote-control cars manufactured in China contain asbestos brake linings–and had been imported into the country.

Asbestos has long been used in brake linings for real, full-sized automobiles. Perhaps the factory was attempting to include a bit of added realism. In fact, the seller’s E-Bay listing for the car practically boasted of the fact; the ad stated that a “super thick asbestos brake block” was among the toy’s features. Australian law provides very stiff fines for importing anything containing asbestos into the country. Australian customs laws consider that anyone who purchases asbestos-containing items from outside the county, whether online or through a catalog, is an importer and can be subject to criminal prosecution and a AUD$110,000 fine (approximately USD$98,500). Australian customs have been targeting asbestos imports for over six months.

According to Daniel Feiler, who is a spokesperson for E-Bay’s Australian operations, the listings for the asbestos cars were removed as soon as the company’s officials were told of the problem. Feiler also assured The Age that only a “small number” of the toys had made their way into the country, and added: “E-Bay has a zero tolerance for illegal items and (has) sophisticated systems in place and people working to pick up and remove these sorts of items.” Our U.S. readers should be advised that similar items have been seen on the U.S. E-Bay website. The Australian report listed the following models as having potential asbestos problems: – 4WD Speed Sonic 2005 RC Car Model 94102 – HSP Atomic Warhead Nitro Buggy Models 94105 and 94106 – 2007 Hi-Speed Nitro/Gas Tyrannosaurus Monster Truck Model 94108 – Gas Powered RC Car Model Frc-10 – Gas Powered 4WD RC Truck Model Frc-08 E-Bay shoppers are advised to compare this image to the ones in the listings if they are considering the purchase of one of these gas-powered RC cars.