Fisher Price Recall Prompted by Lead Paint Hazard 1 Million Toys Affected

Toy giant Fisher-Price recalled nearly a million Chinese-made toys yesterday because paint used on the toys contained high levels of lead. The Fisher Price recall encompasses more than 80 different toys and toy sets, and includes toys based on characters from popular TV shows like Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer and Spongebob Squarepants.

Fisher-Price, a unit of the Mattel Corporation, announced the toy recall yesterday, even though the company had known about the problem since early July. According to an article in the Washington Post, Fisher-Price negotiated a deal with the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) to delay the recall so that stores would be able to get the toys off their shelves, and so that Fisher Price could get a recall hotline operating. Fisher-Price said that the company was able to quarantine two thirds of the recalled items before they got to stores. But just under a million lead-tainted toys made it into stores, and possibly into the hands of children.

Lead is highly toxic and can cause learning disabilities, behavioral problems and other health issues in young children if ingested. The CPSC advised consumers to check their homes for recalled toys. Under no circumstances should children be allowed to play with the toys. The toys involved are all marked “Fisher Price”, and some bear date codes between 109-7LF and 187-7LF. The toys were sold between May and August 2007 and cost from $5 to $40. Consumers who have a recalled toy should return it for a voucher good for a replacement toy of equal value. Fisher-Price has set up an information hotline (1-800-916-4498) to provide consumers with more information about the recall. Information is also available at

China produces nearly 80-percent of the world’s toys, and this is one of largest recalls of Chinese-made toys this year. Earlier this summer, about 1.5 million Chinese –made Thomas the Tank Engine toys were recalled by the RC2 Corporation because they were also made with lead paint. Other Chinese products, including tires, fresh ginger, toothpaste and pet food ingredients have been recalled for various safety issues this year.

Mattel, Inc., the parent of Fisher-Price, expects this latest recall to take a huge chunk out of its bottom line. The company has told investors that its second-quarter operating income will fall by more than $30 million. Prior to the recall, Mattel had said that second-quarter operating income would be around $63.5 million. Mattel also said that it would be reviewing the production methods of all of its China-based contractors.

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