Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Reaches $12 Million Settlement With Mattel Over Lead Paint-Tainted Toys
Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, along with the attorneys general of 38 other states, reached a settlement agreement today with Mattel, Inc. and its subsidiary, Fisher-Price, Inc., resolving a 16-month long investigation into the events that resulted in a voluntary recall in 2007 of the company’s toys for excessive lead paint. The agreement, filed today in Franklin Circuit Court, requires Mattel to make a payment of $12 million by January 30, 2009, to be divided among the participating states. As one of the lead states on the multi-state executive committee, Kentucky will receive $475,000.
“No child should be at risk because of toxic chemicals in their toys. I will continue to press the federal government and toy manufacturers on this issue to prevent tainted toys from falling into the hands of Kentucky kids,” said General Conway.
From August 2, 2007 through October 25, 2007, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced recalls of approximately 2 million Mattel and Fisher-Price toys for excessive lead in surface coatings. The recalls included nearly 100 different products manufactured in China.
At the time of the recalls, the CPSC standard permitted for lead in accessible surface coatings was 600 parts per million (ppm). Lead levels taken of the recalled toys during the course of the states’ investigation found that levels not only exceeded the federal standard, but in some instances tested over 10,000 ppm and 50,000 ppm. Links to the CPSC recall announcements with the lists of recalled toys are included with this press release.
The agreement reached by the attorneys general includes more stringent standards for accessible lead both in surface coatings and other materials effective for toys manufactured after November 30, 2008.
Since the attorneys general first contacted Mattel in August 2007, Congress has enacted the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which requires an initial reduction in lead in toys in February, 2009, with further reductions in August 2009 and in August 2011.
Mattel has agreed with the attorneys general to phase in more stringent standards ahead of the timelines provided by the CPSIA. Mattel has also agreed with the attorneys general to notify them if it confirms excessive lead in any of its products in violation of state or federal law, or the consent judgment, and to work with the attorneys general to remedy such violations.
The Mattel recalls were but a few of dozens of recalls involving dangerous lead levels during the past two years. General Conway strongly encourages parents to consult the CPSC recall notices to determine if their children’s toys have been recalled due to lead content or any other safety concern. A link to that website may be found at www.ag.ky.gov. Consumers may also call the CPSC recall hotline at 1-800-638-2772.
Links to Mattel Recall Notices:
CPSC resources & tips for parents
2008 Safe Shopping Guide