AAFES steps up toy toxicity tests due to safety concerns
October 16, 2007
SEOUL — Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials said Wednesday they have stepped up toxicity testing of toys sold in AAFES stores, following a string of recalls by manufacturers and retailers of Chinese-made toys for high levels of lead-based paint.
The additional testing, which began in August, has generated no new recalls, AAFES spokesman Judd Anstey said.
“These chemical spot checks for toxicity are a new effort that will supplement the existing physical toy-testing program already in place at AAFES’ Dallas lab,” Anstey said.
He added that if a recall occurred, AAFES would work with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to alert exchange customers, stores and distribution centers.
Anstey said AAFES already had several quality-assurance steps in place, including “pre-purchase and post-award testing,” random testing by quality-assurance personnel and store and customer feedback programs.
In an e-mail interview, Anstey said AAFES quality-assurance personnel had teamed up with third-party labs to randomly test products at its stores overseas and in the United States.
Following an AAFES recall of one of its in-house brand Soldier Bear products for toxic paint, Stripes reported in May that AAFES had relied heavily on third-party lab results provided by the Hong Kong manufacturer to ensure the products were safe. AAFES also said then that no additional testing was needed.
In July, AAFES issued a second recall on toys from the same manufacturer, Toy Century Ltd., again after leaded paint was found on some of them.
A total of 8,000 of the toy sets, mostly military-themed action figures and vehicles, were sold at AAFES stores over a period of two years.
Anstey said the recent increase in toy testing was because “safety is a primary concern.”