Mattel RECALL (again)

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by Stacey

For the love of God. Mattel Inc. announced its second recall in two weeks and this time (hold on to your lunch boxes ladies and gentlemen) it’s for 9.3 million toys. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says the toys pose a risk due to lead paint or magnets that children can swallow. It also warned parents not to let their children play with these toys.

According to this AP story:

The recall announced Tuesday include about 9.3 million play sets that contain small, powerful magnets. Among the toys are Polly Pocket dolls and Barbie and Tanner play sets, along with Batman and OnePiece Triple Slash Zolo Roronoa action figures, and Doggie Day Care. Many of the magnetic toys are older and may have been purchased as early as 2003.

Also recalled Tuesday were 253,000 of Mattel’s die-cast cars modeled after “Sarge” in the cartoon movie “Cars” that contain lead paint.

The CPSC has detailed information and lists of toys that are included here, here, and here. Oh, and here and here. Man.

The company has info on what to do if you own one (or twenty) of these toys. Go here for that. Or call Mattel at 888-597-6597 for information about the recalled toys with magnets, or 800-916-4997 for information about the recalled cars.

According to the company, this may not be the last recall to come down the pike.

In a conference call with reporters, Mattel chief executive Bob Eckert said the company is stepping up its oversight and testing in its production processes. As a result, he noted, more recalls may occur.

“There is no guarantee that we will not be here again and have more recalls,” Eckert said. “We are testing at a very high level here.”

Last November, CPSC recalled Polly Pockets play sets because of a problem with small magnets. They come loose and kids can swallow them. If a child swallows more than one, the magnets can attract inside the intestinal tract causing perforation that requires surgery. The magnets can also cause blockage and infection and can prove to be fatal. Since the November recall, three additional cases of magnet-related surgeries in kids have been reported, prompting today’s announcement.

(In March 2006, another toy company, Mega Brands Inc., recalled 3.8 million Magnetix magnetic building sets after one child died and four others were seriously injured after swallowing tiny magnets in them, the AP article says.)

As for the lead paint, this piece comes on the heels of Mattel’s initial recall two weeks ago of 1.5 million toys. While investigating the issue, AP reports company officials found they had a much bigger problem on their hands.

And so may China, if the issue takes hold in Washington. Right now the bigwigs are grumbling.

“Another week, another recall of Chinese-made toys,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who suggested detaining and inspecting all Chinese toy imports for lead paint. “We can’t wait any longer for China to crack down on its lax safety standards. This needs to stop now before more children and more families are put at risk.”

Rep. Mike Ferguson, R-N.J., said companies whose toys are made in China need to be sure their products meet U.S. safety standards. “If they don’t, I believe Congress must give federal regulators the authority to ensure that our kids’ toys won’t actually harm them,” he said.

But what I want to know is, what’s Santa going to do? Where’s he going to get enough toys for Christmas once parents decide they don’t want their kids playing with things made in China? Did I mention the recalled toys were made in China? Need I bother???

3 Comments

Filed under Barbie recall, Batman recall, Doggie Day Care recall, lead paint toys, magnets recall, Mattel recall, Polly Pockets recall, Sarge recall, Tanner recall

3 responses to “Mattel RECALL (again)

  1. jonathansalembaskin

    I think this sort of event has significant implications for how we conceieve and deliver brands. You right note all of the blather on the Mattel website, and the CEO’s public pronoucements of rage, but I see it as almost separate from what they envision the brand to be…like brand is apart, or above, from the messy reality of outsourcing, lowest-cost service, cheaper materials, etc. This event shows that brand and business practices are synonymous, and no amount of public apologizing can change the fact that Mattel (and many others) pursue the very activities and functions that they’re now disclaiming. We need perhaps to redefine how businesses structure brands (not as creative conceits, but as aggregations of business activity), and consumers may decide to start paying closer attention to the who, what, how, when, and why things are made vs. the glossy TV spots that promote it all. I’ve written a bit about this on DIM BULB at http://dimbulb.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/08/wheredoesthisco.html if you’d like to check it out.

  2. “This event shows that brand and business practices are synonymous, and no amount of public apologizing can change the fact that Mattel (and many others) pursue the very activities and functions that they’re now disclaiming.”

    This is an interesting point. Mattel (and others) can claim to be investigating, etc., but the bottom line is, their corporate decisions allowed for dangerous products emblazoned with their logo to reach our kids. They need to own up to that.

  3. i wonder what happens next. this seems like a corporate responsibility issue.

    will there be class action suits? will mattel pay for kids to get tested for toxic chemicals and then pay for any required treatment? compensate families for pain and suffering? i’m not a particularly litigious person, but it seems to me that there should be some financial consequences for mattel because that’s what seems to drive things with these huge corporations. otherwise it might not stop.

    what do you think should happen?

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