Mattel settles lead toy claims with 39 state attorneys general

Chris Rizo Dec. 15, 2008, 10:43am

Steve Six (D)

Roy Cooper (D)

TOPEKA, Kan. (Legal Newsline)-A $12 million multistate settlement between 39 attorneys general and Mattel Inc. and Fisher-Price, Inc., its subsidiary, over lead-tainted toys was announced Monday.

Because of lead paint, Mattel, the world's largest toy company, recalled more than 18 million toys made in China.

The toys were also recalled because they contained small magnets that if swallowed by children could damage their digestive tracts. The lead paint, if ingested, can cause brain damage or even death.

"This settlement will help keep kid's toys safe by requiring more stringent standards on the use of lead paint," Kansas Attorney General Steve Six said.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled about 2 million Mattel and Fisher-Price toys made in China between August and October 2007, saying the toys contained excessive lead, up to more than 83 times the legal level.

The attorneys general settlement requires Mattel to make a payment of $12 million by January 30, 2009, to be divided among the participating states.

The agreement also sets standards for accessible lead both in surface coatings and substrates that go into effect for toys manufactured after November 30, 2008.

"Toys should help our children have fun, not put them in danger," North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said. "This agreement adds extra safety measures to protect kids and give parents some peace of mind."

The states were led by an Executive Committee of officials from the offices of Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon, Ohio Attorney General Nancy Rogers, Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett and Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell.

Other states participating in the agreement are: Alabama, Alaska,
Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Earlier this month, California Attorney General Jerry Brown and Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo reached a $1.8 million settlement with nine toy manufacturers, including Mattel and Fisher Price.

Under the settlement, the companies involved agreed to stop selling any toys they know contain lead. The companies will also pay $550,000 for lead testing and improved notification to customers, the attorney general's office said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at

More News