Between September 2006 and August 2007, Mattel imported almost 900,000 toys that violated rules on lead levels. Their subsidary Fisher-Price imported as many as 1.1 million.
Now the corporation is paying the price. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commision, the $2.3 million fine is the highest levied against a toy company. Thomas Moore, the acting commision chair, said,
This penalty should serve notice to toymakers that CPSC is committed to the safety of children, to reducing their exposure to lead and to the implementation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.
As we all full well remember, the lead recalls caused panic among parents. Mattel’s negligence in manufacturing had the collective consumer culture in the States pointing a big fat finger at China as the cause of problems.
But it’s not only China.
Last year, the Healthy Toys site ran tests on 1,500 toys. They found that lead is still very much found in toys. This is regardless of where the toy is manufacturered or how much they cost.
21 percent of toys from China and 16 percent of those from all other countries had detectable levels of lead in 2008.
As in, parents: the high-dollar price tags and country of origin do not ensure the safety of your child’s toys.
We can still pick up better toys. A couple of steps:
- Look for unfinished wood or natural finishes, such as beeswax.
- Buy handmade and local.
- Buy organic toys whenever possible.
- Sign up for the CPSC product recall alerts. Whenever a toy is recalled, then, you’ll receive a notice in your inbox.
- Check out and support the Healthy Toys site. They have both a Best Toys and Worst Toys list, which is mighty helpful. If you’re looking for a toy and it hasn’t been tested, notify them and they’ll work on getting its chemical levels on their list.
Image: cursedthing on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.