Mattel Recalls 9 Million Chinese-Made Toys

Latest recall involves Chinese-made toys that contain lead paint or magnets small enough to swallow.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Toy-making giant Mattel Inc. issued recalls today for about 9 million Chinese-made toys that contain magnets that can be swallowed by children or could have lead paint.
The recalls includes 7.3 million play sets, including Polly Pocket dolls and Batman action figures, and 253,000 die cast cars that contain lead paint. The action was announced on the company's Web site and at a news conference here by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Nancy A. Nord, acting CPSC chairman, said no injuries had been reported with any of the products involved in the new recall. Several injuries had been reported in an earlier Polly Pocket recall last November.
''The scope of these recalls is intentionally large to prevent any injuries from occurring,'' she told the news conference.
It was the latest blow to the toy industry, which has had a string of recalled products from China, ranging from faulty tires to tainted toothpaste. With more than 80 percent of toys sold worldwide made in China, toy sellers are nervous that shoppers will shy away from their products.
The recall involving lead paint was Mattel's second in two weeks. Earlier this month, consumers were warned about 1.5 million Chinese-made toys that contain lead paint.
''There is no excuse for lead to be found in toys entering this country,'' Nord said. ''It's totally unacceptable and it needs to stop.''
Toys recalled today include 253,000 Sarge brand cars because the surface paint could contain lead levels in excess of federal standard. The 2½-inch, 1-inch high car looks like a military jeep.
Also recalled were 345,000 Batman and 'One Piece' action figures, 683,000 Barbie and Tanner play sets and 1 million Doggie Day Care play sets.
In full-page ads Tuesday in The New York Times and other newspapers, Mattel said it was ''one of the most trusted names with parents'' and was ''working extremely hard to address your concerns and continue creating safe, entertaining toys for you and your children.''
The Consumer Product Safety Commission, which negotiated details of Mattel's recalls, reported that since its recall of Polly Pockets play sets in Nov. 11, three children had been injured by swallowing more than one magnet. All three suffered intestinal perforations that required surgery.
Two weeks ago, Mattel's Fisher-Price division announced the worldwide recall of 1.5 million Chinese-made preschool toys featuring characters such as Dora the Explorer, Big Bird and Elmo. About 967,000 of those toys were sold in the United States between May and August.
Mattel discovered the latest problem while they were investigating the earlier recall, Nord said.
Mattel officials maintained that a European retailer discovered the lead in some of the lead-covered Fisher-Price products in early July. On July 6, the company halted operations at the factory in China that produced the toys and launched an investigation.
Days after the Fisher-Price recall, Chinese officials temporarily banned the toys' manufacturer, Lee Der Industrial Co., from exporting products. A Lee Der co-owner, Cheung Shu-hung, committed suicide at a warehouse over the weekend, apparently by hanging himself, a state-run newspaper reported Monday.
Lee Der was under pressure in the global controversy over the safety of Chinese-made products, and it is common for disgraced officials to commit suicide in China.
After Mattel announced the recall of its Fisher-Price toys, it launched a full-scale investigation into all of its factories in China.
Before this month, Fisher-Price and parent company Mattel had never before recalled toys because of lead paint.
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