With all of the recent problems with lead paint on the toys coming out of China, product recalls, and general concern with baby products being produced overseas, it begs the question…. can building materials out of China be trusted? While you do have the occassional problems with consistency in the quality, most of the products coming out of China really are safe.
I have been to the factories in China that manufacturer the kitchen cabinets and from what I was shown, the quality levels are certainly up to par. I think the major difference in the problems with the toys and any potential problems with the kitchen cabinets coming out of China would be the products use and materials used to make it. With the toys, you have the potential for more hazardous chemicals to used in the manufacturing between the chemicals in the plastics and the paint. With kitchen cabinets, the wood doesn’t have any chemical additives, and they are using polyeurothane for the finish. I also think that because the toys have a higher chance of being injested, there are higher standards put on the materials.
The kitchen cabinets that are being manufactured are using simple wood glue in some of the joints, water based stains, and polyeurothane for the sealant. With all of the assembly parts being plastic or metal, there are few opportunities for harsh chemicals to be introduced into the equation.
With the push from the KCMA (Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturing Association), there are also tighter guidelines as to what standards the cabinets should meet to be KCMA certified. With these higher standards, the importers are pushing back on the manfacturing plants to ensure that they are compliant with the regulations. With higher quality expectations being pushed from both ends, I am confident that the level of quality and safety coming from China is up to the standards that are expected by US consumers.