Mattel recalls 1.5 million Chinese-made products for lead worries
El Segundo-based Mattel Inc., the world’s largest toymaker, Wednesday announced a worldwide voluntary recall of 1.5 million products because they may contain 'excessive levels' of lead.
Eighty-three types of Fisher-Price-branded preschool toys sold in U.S. stores since May — 967,000 individual items in total — are included in the recall according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Individual Fisher-Price products and sets involved in the recall were sold at retail stores nationwide from May 1 to August 2007. A full list of products is published online at the toy maker’s Web site (www.mattel.com
www.mattel.com) as well as by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (www.cpsc.gov).
According to a statement issued by Mattel, the toys were manufactured by a single Chinese manufacturer and 'produced using a non-approved paint pigment containing lead, which is in violation of applicable standards, as well as our own self-imposed standards. Mattel is conducting a thorough investigation.'
Lead is known to cause nervous system damage, hearing loss, stunted growth, reduced IQ levels, and delayed development. It is considered highly dangerous to children under the age of six, whose bodies are still developing. While it affects nearly every organ of the human body, it is especially toxic on the kidneys. The U.S. government banned lead-based paint in 1978, though it is still allowed for certain military and industrial applications.
In the wake of the recall, the $5.6 billion-a-year Mattel also announced it is reviewing all of its Chinese-contracted production, the source of 65 percent of its toys. The firm did not rule out finding new manufacturing sources for low-cost manufactured goods.
The recall is only the latest in a string of China-related product recalls or warnings, including a recall of Thomas & Friends toys from Asian stores last month, a U.S. ban on Chinese toothpaste earlier this year, and scares involving tainted cooking oil, diseased pork, and pet food components.