Wal-Mart Toy Recall Issued for Lead Contaminated Animal FiguresOct 22, 2007 | Parker Waichman LLP
Wal-Mart has become the latest retailer to issue a recall for lead tainted toys. The retail giant issued the recall Friday after it discovered the problem with some animal figures sold in its stores after conducting its own lead testing. Wal-Mart is just one of many companies to institute its own toy safety program following a rash of toy recalls this past summer.
This Wal-Mart toy recall could be a real challenge for parents, as the Bentonville, Arkansas retailer is giving consumers very little information about the defective toys. In a news release announcing the recall, Wal-Mart described the toys as “sets of realistic-looking farm animals, jungle animals and dinosaurs”. The recalled Wal-Mart toys were sold loose in cellophane bags with no brand name. The toy sets have a cardboard hanger that includes the price of 88 cents and reads “Dinosaurs”, “Farm Animals” or “Jungle Animals”. Wal-Mart won’t say how many such toys were sold, nor will it reveal the name of the manufacturer. Pictures of the recalled Wal-Mart toys are available on the company’s website.
Wal-Mart said it had pulled the toys off of its shelves earlier this month, after preliminary tests revealed high lead levels. The Wal-Mart toy recall was issued Friday after the first tests were verified. According to the company’s press release, Wal-Mart believes that the lead tainted toys were sold through other retailers, and it has provided the name of the manufacturer to the Consumer Products Safety Commission.
In August, Wal-Mart announced that it would be increasing safety checks of the toys sold in its stores. As part of this program, Wal-Mart has asked its suppliers to resubmit testing documentation, and is checking to see if stated results are accurate. Wal-Mart also said that it would be subjecting more toys to independent lab tests, and would be testing up to 200 items each day.
Earlier this summer, several other toy companies also announced that they would be increasing their efforts to insure toy safety. Disney, Nickelodeon and Sesame Workshop have all said they would be testing toys featuring their licensed characters. And both Target and Toys ‘R’ Us have increased toy testing.
Toy safety has received a great deal of attention this year. Since August, toy giant Mattel has issued 3 separate toy recalls for lead hazards and other problems. In June, the RC2 Company recalled more than 1 million lead-tainted Thomas and Friends toy trains. Children’s jewelry and character notebooks have also been recalled for the same reason.
Exposure to lead can cause brain damage and other problems in young children, and the US all but banned the toxin from toys nearly 30 years ago. But more and more toy manufacturers have moved their operations to China, where most of the recalled toys originated. These factories are not subject to the same levels of inspection US operations would have to undergo. Because of this, millions of lead-tainted toys have made their way into the US, exposing an unknown number of children to this dangerous poison.