Nightmare on Sesame Street

With closer scrutiny on lead-contained toy products, you might think that your kids’ toys might now be safe but retailers, product manufacturers and ultimately consumers should also consider each product’s complete life cycle analysis not just raw materials but including labor and manufacturing environment. Isn’t that what companies now call sustainability?

According to a report from the US watchdog group National Labor Committee (NLC), a new Sesame Street “Ernie” toy to be released tomorrow in the US and Europe is made in an abusive sweatshop at the Kai Da Toy Factory in Shenzhen, China.

The workers reportedly handle potentially toxic oil paints and solvents without protective gear and also are paid less than one cent for each toy completed. NLC said the workers sweat as they race to complete 50 “Ernie” toys each hour and 650 in the 13-hour shift.

“The abuse of young toy workers in China will not end unless parents and children demand that Sesame Street, Hasbro and K’NEX immediately clean up the Kai Da factory and take concrete steps to guarantee that the legal rights of the workers will finally be respected. There is absolutely no reason why these powerful toy companies cannot pay fair wages and treat the workers as human beings,” said NLC director Charles Kernaghan.

If I have powers, I’ll turn these Ernie toys into Chuckies and make Hasbro and K’NEX see the error of their ways…

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