Mattel to Pay $12 Million Over Chinese-made Toxic Toys

The damage payment will be shared among 39 states.

U.S. officials said on Dec. 15 that Mattel will pay $12 million over last year's recall of two million Chinese-made toxic toys. The toys, fabricated by Mattel and subsidiary Fisher Price, were found to have traces of lead paint in them.

The damage payment will be shared among 39 states which reached a settlement agreement Monday with Mattel and Fisher-Price, resolving a 15-month probe into the events that lead to the voluntary recall of the companies' toys.

The consent judgment requires Mattel to make a payment of $12 million by January 30 to be divided among the participating states, said Martha Coakley, Attorney General of Massachusetts, which led the multi-state group investigation and settlement.

"Lead is highly toxic, particularly to young children. Higher exposures to lead, such as the levels found in these toys, can cause grave health problems," said Martha Coakley, Attorney General of Massachusetts, which led the multi-state group investigation and settlement. She said the agreement also included lead monitoring requirements aimed at preventing such a public health scare, in addition to funds for protecting children from the dangers of lead poisoning.

From August to October, 2007, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled about two million Mattel and Fisher-Price toys, all manufactured by contractors in China as they contained excessive lead levels. Congress has since enacted a law, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, requiring more stringent standards for lead in toys, effective February 2009.

Under a judgment filed, Mattel must phase-in more stringent standards ahead of the timelines provided by the newly enacted law, Coakley said.

China is the world's biggest toy exporter, with total sales of 60 billion toys in 2006, amounting to 60% of the world market.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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