More than 18 million Mattel toys on recall globally

Mattel Inc. announced more problems with its Chinese-made products Tuesday, recalling nearly 18.7 million of its toys around the globe because of dangers associated with small magnets or lead paint.

Mattel Inc. announcedmore problems withits Chinese-madeproductsTuesday, recalling nearly 18.7 million toys around the globebecause of dangers associated withsmall magnets or lead paint.

Theannouncement,which covers about 18.2 magnetic toys and another 436,000made with lead paint,comes less than two weeks after the toymaker recalled nearly one million Chinese-made toys sold in the U.S. because of excessive amounts of lead in the paint.

A store attendant arranges toys made by Mattel in a toy store in Manila, Philippines. The toymaker announced the recall of other toys Tuesday. ((Pat Roque/Associated Press))

Nearly one million toys have been recalled in Canada, Mattel said in statement released Tuesday.They include about 890,000 magnetic toyssuch asPolly Pocket dolls and Batman action figures, and32,800 Sarge die-cast cars that contain lead paint.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper addressed the recall issue on Tuesday, telling reporters in Ottawa that concerns among Canadiansabout the quality ofimported productsfrom around the worldwere shared by the federal government.

"I can tell you that the government is concerned about this, we're examining this carefully, and we're not the only government concerned," he said.

Harper added he would be discussing the product quality control matter with other world leaders in future meetings.

"We have the NAFTA summit here, the Security and Prosperity Partnership Summit in a few weeks … and that issue … will be something we'll be taking a look at as well," he said.

More recalls possible

In an interview with CBC from the company's headquarters in El Segundo, Calif., Mattel's executive vice-president Bryan Stockton did not rule out the possibility of more recalls.

"There's no process that's perfect, and if we find another incident, our responsibility to our consumers is to make sure that we communicate with them quickly and clearly that there's some sort of issue."

In the United States, nearlynine million toyswere included in Tuesday's recall, officials from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said at a news conference in Washington.

"The scope of these recalls is intentionally large to prevent any injuries from occurring," acting chairman Nancy A. Nord said.

Mattel is asking parents to visit its websiteif they think one of the affected toys is in their home. (See Mattel recall information under external linkson right). Consumers should immediately take the product away from their children and contact the toy company to receive a voucher for a replacement item.

No injuries have been reported with the most recent recall. However, the commission reported that sincean earlierrecall of Polly Pockets play sets in November, three children have been injured by swallowing more than one magnet. All three suffered intestinal perforations that required surgery.

If more than one magnet is swallowed, they can attach to each other and cause intestinal perforation, infection or blockage, which can be fatal.

Recall covers 5-year period

The bulk of Tuesday's recall covered magnetic toys manufactured between 2002 and January 2007, and expandedon a similarrecall made in November 2006. Also includedin Tuesday's recallwere436,000 Sarge brand cars because the surface paint could contain lead levels in excess of U.S. federal standards.

Under current U.S. regulations, children's products found to have more than 0.06 per cent lead accessible to users are subject to a recall.

"There is no excuse for lead to be found in toys entering this country," Nord said. "It's totally unacceptable and it needs to stop."

On Aug. 1, Mattel's Fisher-Price division recalled nearly one million toys sold in the United States that may contain lead paint, including ones involving such popular characters as Big Bird, Elmo, Dora and Diego. The company said the move would cut about $30 million from its second-quarter profits.

In a statement, Mattel said that a Chinese subcontractor hired to paint its toys violated Mattel's standards and used paint from an unapprovedthird-party supplier.

Following the recall, Chinese officials temporarily banned the toys' manufacturer, Lee Der Industrial Co., from exporting products.

Days later, the head of the company, Zhang Shuhong, committed suicide at a warehouse.

While Stockton said Mattel is now testing every single batch of toys made, in China and elsewhere, the companywill continue manufacturing goods in the Asian country.

"We make toys all over the world and we have a long history of producing high-quality, safe toys in China. We believe this is an incident where we understand exactly what happened and why."


  • Mattel Inc. recalled nearly 18.7 million toys on Tuesday, not 18.2 million as originally reported.
    Aug 15, 2007 3:10 PM ET

With files from the Associated Press