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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Oh, No! Not Elmo!

Elmo and Friends Recalled!

Toy-maker Fisher-Price is recalling Elmo and many of his friends, including the Big Bird, Dora the Explorer and Diego - 83 types of toys in all. It turns out that their paint contains excessive amounts of lead.


Please note that the Elmo shown in the illustration here is a composite, and does not indicate that this particular mode is being recalled.

The worldwide recall was announced Thursday 8/2/2007, and involves 967,000 plastic preschool toys made by a Chinese vendor and sold in the United States between May and August. It is the latest in a wave of recalls that has heightened global concern about the safety of Chinese-made products. This is the the first for Fisher-Price and its parent company Mattel Inc. involving lead paint. Children's products found to have more than .06 percent lead accessible to users are subject to a recall under the current regulations.

It is the largest recall for Mattel since 1998 when Fisher-Price recalled and pulled about 10 million Power Wheels right from toy stores.

This was detected by a Fisher-Price internal probe and then reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Mattel is legendary for its strict quality controls, and this recall is particularly alarming since it is considered a role model in the toy industry for how it operates in China.

Statements were issued Wednesday by Fisher-Price (Adobe Acrobat .pdf file) and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) stating that parents need to keep toys in question away from children and contact the company. The CPSC works with companies to issue recalls when it finds consumer goods that can be harmful.

According to Fisher-Price, this recall was troubling because Fisher-Price has had a long-standing relationship with the Chinese vendor, which had applied decorative paint to the toys in question. It was stated that the company would use this recall as an opportunity to put even better systems in place to monitor vendors whose conduct does not meet Mattel's tight standards.

This recall allowed the company to quarantine two-thirds of the toys before they even made it to store shelves. In negotiating details of the recall, Fisher-Price and the government sought to withhold details from the public until Thursday to give stores time to get suspect toys off shelves and Fisher-Price time to get its recall hot line up and running. However, some news organizations have prematurely posted an embargoed version of the story online, and some of there were stated to have been in the public interest.

Sen. Dick Durbin, (D-Illinois) had introduced a bill last month that he contended would dramatically expand the product safety commission's ability to protect consumers. In a statement Wednesday night, Durbin also called for better safety standards for products imported from China. "Sadly, this is the most recent in a series of disturbing recalls of children's toys. While the toys may be different, they have one thing in common - they were manufactured in China," he said.

"With the current tools and resources the Consumer Product Safety Commission has, it cannot adequately protect American consumers."

To see pictures of the recalled toys, visit http://www.service.mattel.com or their Mattel Customer Relations Answer Center. One of the links below may help to provide additional information as well. If you find that you own a recalled toy, it can be exchanged for a voucher for another product of the same value. For more information, call Mattel's recall hot line at 800-916-4498.

Again, please note that the Elmo shown in the illustration here is a composite, and does not indicate that this particular model is being recalled.

Official list from U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Also see current CPSC Recent Recalls

Technorati Tags: elmo, big bird, dora the explorer, fisher-price, mattel, lexidiem, jargontalk, recall, chinese imports, consumer products safety, cspc, no pule zone


Heartsapocolypse said...

Great information, very timely and well written. Watch out for those toys! Read the list and check your kid's toys to see if they on the list.

Bill said...

Thanks for the note on this. Nice entry here, and it looks like you're right on top of the news again!

Mattel, as you noted, is known to be top league when it comes to quality control, and it's a shame that they were let down by a supplier. Have to admire them for being forthcoming about all of this.

Again, a good post, and I just hope that it and the other new articles out there will do some good.

Mattel is legendary for its strict quality controls,