Mattel pays $12 million to end States' claims arising out of lead in toys
Bloomberg.com reported yesterday that Mattel had reached agreement with 39 states to settle claims that it shipped toys contaminated with lead paint. Hopefully the settlement wiped out some of the excessive profit generated by manufacturing the toys in China where there was little or no regulation of products or worker protection.
The settlement covered toys like Sesame Street dolls, Dora the Explorer accessories and many other products shipped to the U.S. Under the settlement, Mattel also agreed to implement new federal guidelines governing lead content in toys immediately. The guidelines don't become effective on other toy importers until August of 2009. The State of Massachusetts commenced this probe in August of 2007 after the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled more than 2 million toys manufactered by Mattel and Fisher-Price, a subsidiary. The State of New York reached a separate settlement with five discount "dollar" stores with regard to children's jewelry found on store shelves and containing as much as 1,000 times the legal limit of lead. As usual, poor children bore the brunt of this toxic poisoning. California made a similar deal with Mattel several months ago.