They’re Still Afraid of Imports

Stories about toxic imported products have mostly fallen off the front page, but consumers have not forgotten last year’s fears about the matter. A poll by Harris Interactive for the Wall Street Journal Online’s Health Industry Edition finds high levels of distrust for products from China and other developing countries.

Toys are a conspicuous focal point of such concern. Asked how confident they are in the safety of children’s toys made in developing countries like China, India and South Africa, 42 percent said “not at all” and 30 percent “not very.” Eighteen percent said they’re “somewhat” confident in the safety of such toys, and a mere 4 percent said they’re “very” confident.

Consumers’ suspicions extend to other categories as well. Fewer than one-third said they’re even somewhat confident about the safety of packaged/prepared foods from those countries, while 30 percent said they’re “not very confident” and 34 percent “not at all confident.” The pattern was nearly identical for over-the-counter medications, again with 30 percent not very confident and 34 percent not at all confident.

Personal-care products (“like toothpaste, moisturizer or shampoo”) fared just slightly better, with 26 percent of respondents not very and 30 percent not at all confident about them.