WASHINGTON — Toy maker Fisher-Price Inc. is recalling 83 types of toys -- including the popular Big Bird, Elmo, Dora and Diego characters -- because their paint contains excessive amounts of lead.
The worldwide recall involves 967,000 plastic preschool toys made by a Chinese vendor and sold in the United States since May. It is the latest in a wave of recalls that has heightened global concern about the safety of Chinese-made products.
The recall is the first for Fisher-Price and parent company Mattel Inc. involving lead paint. It is the largest for El Segundo-based Mattel since 1998, when Fisher-Price had to yank about 10 million Power Wheels from stores.
David Allmark, general manager of Fisher-Price, said Wednesday that the problem was detected by an internal probe and reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Fisher-Price and the commission issued statements saying parents should keep suspect toys away from children and contact the company.
The commission works with companies to issue recalls when it finds consumer goods that can be harmful. Under current regulations, children's products found to have more than 0.06% lead accessible to users are subject to a recall.
Allmark said the recall was "fast-tracked," which allowed the company to quarantine two-thirds of the toys before they even made it to store shelves.