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USmade toys - U.S-Made Toys Benefit From Chinas Troubles By...

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August 15, 2007 U.S.-Made Toys Benefit From China’s Troubles By ANDREW MARTIN Whittle Shortline Railroad, a company in Louisiana, Mo., that makes wooden trains and trucks, posted a banner on its Web site several weeks ago: “100 percent kid-safe,” it read, “with lead-free paints.” Mike Whitworth, the company’s owner, said the recent recalls of Chinese-made toys found to contain lead in their paint has been good for his business. Very good. “We are little bitty, but we are taking some leaps and bounds here,” said Mr. Whitworth, who sells his toys over the Internet and in neighborhood toy and train stores. “Actually, we have seen about a 40 percent jump since late June.” With about 80 percent of the toys sold in the United States manufactured in China, the relatively few manufacturers of American-made toys who remain have relied to some extent on snob appeal and survived mostly by emphasizing the quality of their products — even if they cost more money. But some are now pointing to another competitive advantage: you can count on them to be lead free. After struggling for years to compete against cheaper Chinese imports, several manufacturers of American-made toys said they had been inundated with calls in recent weeks from retail chains and customers inquiring about their products.
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