When life hands you lemons, you should make lemonade. But if the lemons are
products that consumers paid for with hard-earned cash, expect the company or the
relevant government agency to order a recall. Products sold on the market should
always be safe and must work properly. Consumers deserve nothing less and they
certainly do not deserve the following items. These are the 10 worst product recalls
10. Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway Toys by RC2 Corp., 2007
Kids have been playing with train sets for the longest time. As a matter of fact, some
adults do not outgrow the toy and keep it even as they get older. One set of toys that
is definitely not for keeps is the wooden railway set from Thomas & Friends. The toys
were made in China and it made use of paint that contained lead. This substance
can be toxic if ingested. The company was forced to recall over 1.5 million units of
the toy set.
9. Easy Bake Oven by Hasbro, 2007
Children love to mimic the things that adults do. Boys play with cars and tools
because those are the things that fathers tinker with, while girls go for playhouses
and dolls. Hasbro tried to fill that market by releasing the Easy Bake Oven. The toy
turned out to be quite dangerous, however. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety
Commission reported 249 cases of kids getting their hands or fingers caught in the
openings of the oven. There were also 77 reports of burns. The worst was that of a
five-year-old girl’s whose finger got partially amputated due to severe burns.
8. Baby Milk Powder from China, 2008
Products from China faced a lot of scrutiny back in 2008 because of a series of
concerns related to a variety of products. Barbie and Polly Pocket products also
encountered the lead paint issue faced by Thomas & Friends. The danger was not
limited to lead paint, as there were also problems with hazardous magnetic parts. The
worst, however, was the melamine scare that was initially detected in dog and cat
food from China. Melamine is a dangerous chemical used for plastic that can also
artificially bloat a food product’s protein value. Chinese manufacturers added the
chemical to baby milk powder, causing the death of a baby and kidney problems in
50 others. Two men were sentenced to death and 700 tons were recalled.
7. Jarts Lawn Darts, 1988
The Jarts, or lawn darts, was a mildly popular toy in the 80’s that had accident
spelled all over it. The game involved throwing large plastic darts into plastics rings
on the ground. The problem was that the darts had weighted and pointed metal tips. It
made one think whether it was really a toy or actually a weapon. In 18 years, three
deaths were reported because of Jarts. By 1988, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety
Commission had had enough and decided not just to recall the product but also to
completely ban the toy from the market. Canada followed suit a year later.
6. Ford Pinto, 1978
The Ford Pinto was a badly designed car with an oddly positioned fuel tank that
could blow up in case of a rear-end collision. It could have been easily remedied,
but Ford decided it would be cheaper to settle lawsuits instead of fixing the design.
criminal charges were brought. Ford eventually fixed the problem, the charges were
dismissed, but the damage to the car’s reputation was permanent. By 1981, the
model was already retired.
5. Tylenol, 1982
In 1982, Tylenol grabbed the headlines for the wrong reasons. Seven people had
died after ingesting the medicine laced with potassium cyanide. The suspect was
never caught and it sparked panic across the country, copycat incidents and new
safety regulations for medicines. New tamper-proof seals were mandated for all
drugs sold over-the-counter.
4. Peanut Corp., 2008
Mold lined the walls and ceilings of the food manufacturing plant. Rats and
cockroaches were all over the place. Food supplies were mingled with waste and
contaminated with salmonella. That was the condition of the Georgia peanut plant of
the Peanut Corp. Yet, the company still allowed shipment of its products that were
used to make ice cream, peanut butter and other stuff. Eight people died because of
3. Infantino Slingrider, 2010
Imagine purchasing an item that is supposed to help you carry your baby around
as you go along your daily tasks. Now, imagine that same item being the cause of
a baby’s death. It is pretty hard to swallow and may even be unbelievable to some,
but that was exactly the problem brought about by the Infantino Slingrider. The
Slingrider’s fabric had a tendency to press against the nose or mouth of the baby,
effectively suffocating the child. The danger was pronounced especially for those
under four months old. Three babies died as a result. And the number may still rise,
as the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating 14 more deaths
since 1990 that may be associated with the use of the product.
2. Firestone and Goodyear Tires, 2000
It was probably the worst product fault in the history of car making. Tires made by
Firestone and Goodyear were blowing out left and right because of the tendency
of the tire treads to peel or separate. Top-heavy cars, like the Ford Explorer, were
especially susceptible and were toppling over as a result. The Firestone tires were
blamed for 175 deaths and 700 injuries, while those made by Goodyear accounted
for 15 deaths and 120 injuries.
1. Vioxx by Merck, 2004
The product was supposed to help patients suffering from arthritis. Yet, for some
reason, those who ingested the medicine for more than 18 months suddenly found
themselves at risk of heart attacks and strokes. More than 27,000 lawsuits were filed
against the company. Merck had to pay $4.85 billion in settlements, wiping out the
$2.5 billion in sales that Vioxx had brought in the previous year.
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