Mattel, the world’s largest toymaker, has just announced its third major recall in less than 5 weeks. Over 2.8 million various Chinese-made toys have been recalled due to lead-tainted paint.
The Mattel recall includes popular toys such as Barbie accessories, Polly Pocket play set, and GeoTrax Locomotive toys. Nickelodeon and Sesame Street character toys sold under the Fisher-Price name have also been withdrawn.
In addition to Mattel’s recalls, last June RC2 Corp recalled 1.5 million “Thomas & Friends” wooden railway toys that were also made in China. The company is concerned that the surface paints on the toys contained lead, which could result in toxic poisoning in young children. We hope that the recall is soon enogh, as lead in paint is a major medical problem. See our web pages on defective products at http://www.allenflatt.com/lawyer-attorney-1130859.html
For a full list recalled toys, go to either Mattel’s website at www.mattel.com/safety or the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s site at www.cpsc.gov and follow the links to toy recalls.
Even though no illnesses or injuries have been reported to date, lead is a dangerous substance, especially for babies and young children because they often suck or chew on toys in their mouths. Their growing bodies also absorb more lead, and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of this substance.
Since lead poisoning is cumulative, most children will not have any symptoms immediately after exposure. In fact, most children that seem healthy can have high levels of lead in their bodies. Even small amounts of lead can lead to behavior and learning problems, slowed growth and brain damage. Anemia can also occur, as well as damage to the nervous system that may impair mental function. In extreme cases, lead poisoning can cause seizures or death.
If you have concerns about your child’s exposure to lead, discuss the need for a simple blood test with your child’s pediatrician. The test is relatively quick and easy and you’ll have the results in a few days.
For more information and additional resources on the health effects of lead exposure and ways to protect yourself, please visit The National Lead Information Center at www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/leadinfo.htm
The general warning to parents is to proactive with your child’s health. Numerous safety groups such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission and others can only handle so many recalls with their limited staff. In some cases, regulators know certain problems exist but wait for a more formal announcement from the company itself. That’s precious time that our children could be playing with harmful toys.
In a recent CNN Money interview with Julie Vallese from the CPSC, she said “Americans should expect more Chinese-made toys to be recalled in the coming months” and that “It’s clear that lead paint on toys is not isolated just to Mattel.” The CPSC is thoroughly investigating this industry and reviewing their safety standards, but they admit that there are many more recalls coming and not just with toys.
Even though Mattel said that its highest priority is protecting children by pulling defective products off store shelves as soon as hazards emerge, the report said Mattel’s timetable for reporting these hazards differs from that of the CPSC.
In a recent Wall Street Journal report, Mattel CEO Robert Eckerd said “that the company discloses problems on its own timetable because it believes both the law and the commission’s enforcement practices are unreasonable”. In addition, this report states that Mattel maintains that it should be able to evaluate hazards internally before alerting any outsiders, regardless of what the law says.
Since the 1990’s, Mattel has delayed reporting potential problems to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in at least three cases. Furthermore, since 2001, the CPSC has twice fined the world’s largest toymaker for “knowingly” withholding information regarding potentially hazardous problems with its products. Mattel has since settled those cases and has denied any wrongdoing. In fact they deny that the toys had any defects.
Congress will now hold hearings with Mattel and other manufacturers within the toy industry to set safer standards for our children.