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Mattel settles with N.C. over tainted toys

Posted December 15, 2008

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— Toy giant Mattel has agreed to follow stricter safety standards for lead paint in its toys and will pay $12 million to North Carolina and 37 other states to settle claims over a massive toy recall last year.

“Toys should help our children have fun, not put them in danger,” Attorney General Roy Cooper said in a statement. “This agreement adds extra safety measures to protect kids and give parents some peace of mind.”

Under the agreement, Mattel and its subsidiary Fisher Price will follow tougher standards for accessible lead in toys. The company must also pay $12 million to the states, including $262,126 to North Carolina.

About 2 million Mattel and Fisher-Price toys manufactured in China were recalled last year because of concerns that the toys contained excessive lead.

At the time of the recalls, federal standards called for lead levels in accessible surface coatings not to exceed 600 parts per million. According to an investigation by the states' attorneys general, tests of some of the recalled toys found lead levels between 10,000 and 50,000 parts per million.

The settlement requires stricter standards for Mattel and Fisher Price toys manufactured after Nov. 30. Congress tightened the standards for lead in surface coatings and substrates, effective next February, but Mattel agreed with the attorneys general to phase in the new standards before the time required under the federal law.

Mattel also agreed to maintain at least four years of records for subcontractors that manufacture parts for its toys, including records of lead screenings and results. Mattel will notify the attorneys general if it finds excessive lead in any of its products in violation of state or federal law or this agreement, and will work with the states to remedy such violations.

“Keep toy safety in mind when you shop for holiday presents,” Cooper said. “Make sure the gifts you choose for kids are safe and age-appropriate.”

14 Comments

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  • AuntySocial Dec 16, 2008

    I now read the label of any toy I think of buying. If it says Made In China, it goes back on the shelf. I will not buy it.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Dec 15, 2008

    stop buying made in China anything
    That would be a giant start. We needs jobs in the United States real bad.

  • tiggers Dec 15, 2008

    Article states "The company must also pay $12 million to the states, including $262,126 to North Carolina"

    cwdeju says "Does anyone actually know what happens to this money?"

    I personally would be interested to know this myself. Will this be used to fund some unnecessary overseas shopping trip for our Governor's first lady, or just used to line the pockests of our state politician's. NC fought so hard for the safety of our kids... let's see some accountability on where and how this money is used to help our kids. The proof is in the pudding. Hopefully WRAL will step up to the task and follow up on this issue.

  • edbuck51 Dec 15, 2008

    stop buying made in China anything

  • 68_polara Dec 15, 2008

    I growed up around lead to woodrowboy an look at mee I turned out just fine.

    What don't kill you makes you stronger. ;-)

  • BearPWN Dec 15, 2008

    Does anyone actually know what happens to this money? I am truly interested. I know it is not a large sum in the grand scheme of things, but I would really appreciate if someone can shed some light on what happens to this money next. Thank you in advance.

  • Dunn-onian Dec 15, 2008

    Yeah, the state bought a whole lot of toys, huh? Why not distribute it out to the ones who bought the toys...give it to the state so they can fund some shortfall somewhere else...Duh!

  • woodrowboyd2 Dec 15, 2008

    cant seem to get this
    i am age 60 and was raised up around so call lead paint
    all windows in homes were painted in it and also rugs for floors never were big enough to fit the room so it to was painted around the edge of the rug.
    all farm homes were like this.we lay on it and always was there to smell the fresh painted windows and floors
    ive never had any health problems
    it leads me to belive same as with smokeing some people are born with the problem

  • starglow2005 Dec 15, 2008

    I hope Mattel has learned some valuable lessons from this experience. Using cheaper foreign manufacturers with poor oversight of their manufacturing processes has cost Mattel a bundle, not to mention a big hit to their reputation.

  • chfdcpt Dec 15, 2008

    I wonder, will the state put that money towards the budget shortage, or will they put it in a special account for a rainy day? Most probably, it is already spent on something else by now.

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