Md. Reaches Settlement with Mattel Over Toys Recalled for Excessive Lead Paint

BALTIMORE (Dec. 15, 2008)—Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that his Consumer Protection Division, along with consumer protection agencies from 39 other states and the District of Columbia, entered into a Consent Judgment with Mattel, Inc. and Fisher-Price, Inc., its subsidiary, settling a 16-month investigation that resulted in a voluntary recall of the companies’ toys for excessive lead paint during 2007.

“I am pleased that Mattel, working with my Office, has agreed to take stronger measures to protect children from the dangers of lead paint,” said Attorney General Gansler. “Parents need to know that the toys that they are purchasing for their children are safe and will do no harm to the children.”

In a Complaint filed with the Consent Judgment, the Office of the Attorney General alleged that from August 2, 2007 through October 25, 2007, approximately two million Mattel and Fisher-Price toys manufactured in China have been recalled on the suspicion that the toys contained excessive lead in accessible surface coatings. At the time of the recalls, the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s standard limited lead in accessible surface coatings to 600 parts per million (“ppm”). The Attorney General also alleged in its Complaint that lead levels taken of the recalled toys during the course of the States’ investigation uncovered that levels not only exceeded the federal standard, but in some instances tested as high as 50,000 ppm.

The agreement reached by the Attorneys General with Mattel includes more stringent standards for accessible lead both in surface coatings and substrates, effective for toys manufactured after November 30, 2008. Since the Attorneys General first contacted Mattel in August 2007, Congress has enacted the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (“CPSIA”) which now provides more stringent standards for lead in surface coatings and substrates. The CPSIA will be effective February, 2009. As part of its settlement with the Attorneys General, Mattel has agreed to phase in more stringent standards ahead of the timelines provided by the CPSIA. Mattel has also agreed to notify the Attorneys General if it confirms excessive lead in any of its products in violation of state or federal law, or the Consent Judgment, and to work with the Attorneys General to remedy such violations.

Source: Office of Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler

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