Latest Toy Recall Involves Nearly 600,000 Lead-Tainted Toys
More Recalls Likely, Experts SaySep 28, 2007 | Parker Waichman LLP
American consumers have not seen the end of lead-tainted toy recalls. This week, the Consumer Products Safety (CPSC) commission issued 7 separate recall notices for toys made with toxic lead paint and children’s jewelry that contain unlawful levels of lead. So far this year, the CPSC has issued 50 separate recalls for children products that contained dangerous levels of lead, more than any other previous year. What’s worse, it is unlikely that these massive recalls will be the last for toys made with illegal amounts of lead.
Toy recalls have become an almost constant occurrence in the past several months, and have hit even the country’s largest toy maker. Since August 1, the CPSC has issued three separate recalls for hazardous, Chinese-made Mattel toys. The recalls involved toys with lead paint, and others that contained dangerous magnets that could cause intestinal injuries if swallowed by a child. Other products, including jewelry made for children, school supplies and clothing have all been recalled for high levels of lead.
On Wednesday, the CPSC announced recalls for nearly 600,000 toys that contained illegal levels of lead. RC2 Corporation recalled five additional Thomas and Friends railway toys that contained lead paint. Earlier this summer, RC2 had recalled 1.2 million other Thomas and Friends toys for the same reason. RC2 also announced a separate recall for 800 “Knights of the Sword” toys for lead paint. Other recalls included 350,000 children’s gardening tools and chairs sold by Target; 10,000 floor puppet theaters sold by Guidecraft, Inc.; 23,500 Toby & Me Jewelry Sets; 16,000 children’s toy rakes sold by Jo-Ann Stores, Inc., and 850 children’s spinning wheel metal necklaces sold by Rhode Island Novelty.
In its thirty year history, the CPSC has issued 154 recalls for toys containing dangerous levels of lead. Nearly half have occurred since January 2006, something that has worried parents and incurred the wrath of lawmakers. Earlier this month, several US lawmakers introduced laws that would give the CPSC more authority to deal with dangerous toys.
But new laws won’t stop other toy recalls, which many experts say are a certainty. Earlier this week, the Center for Health, Environment and Justice organized random testing of more than 50 toys and found high lead content in half of them. Three of those had extremely high lead levels, the Center said. Those toys included a Go Diego Go Backpack, a Superfly monkey and a pair of Circo LuLu boots. The backpack contained a staggering lead level of 4,600 parts per million. The allowable level for lead in toys sold in the US is only 600 parts per million. Those findings are proof that lead-tainted toys continue to endanger millions of children. It could be quite some time before parents see the end of toy recalls.