Attorney General Announces $12 Million Settlement With Mattel Over Lead Paint In Toys

DENVER -- Colorado Attorney General John Suthers today announced a 42 state, $12 million settlement with Mattel, Inc. and its subsidiary, Fisher-Price, Inc., resolving a 16-month investigation into a voluntary recall of the company’s toys for excessive lead paint during 2007. The agreement, filed today in Denver District Court, requires Mattel to pay $12 million to the States by January 30, 2009, $228,800 of which will be paid to the State of Colorado. The monies will fund consumer protection, education, and enforcement efforts, and will also cover the State’s attorney fees.      

“Excessive amounts of lead have been found to cause cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, and brain damage,” commented Attorney General Suthers. “Companies that import products for resale have an increased responsibility to make sure those products conform to our health standards, especially when children could be adversely affected.”

From August 2, 2007, through October 25, 2007, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled approximately two million Mattel and Fisher-Price toys manufactured in China, alleging that the toys contained excessive lead in their surface coatings. At the time of the recalls, the CPSC allowed 600 parts per million of lead in accessible surface coatings. The States’ investigation showed lead levels over 50,000 ppm in some cases.  

The agreement reached by the Attorneys General includes more stringent standards for accessible lead, both in surface coatings and substrates, for toys manufactured after November 30, 2008. Mattel has agreed to phase-in more stringent standards, and to notify the States if it finds excessive lead in any of its products.

Mattel, Inc., is the world’s largest importer of toys, most of which are manufactured in China. Its major products include Barbie dolls, Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, and notably in the recall, Polly Pocket toys.

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