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U.S. recalls half a million more toys over lead

September 27, 2007|Abigail Goldman | Times Staff Writer

The year of the recall rolls on.

Federal regulators recalled more than half a million toys Wednesday because of lead paint -- including 200,000 Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway toys from RC2 Corp., the company that began the wave of lead scares with a June recall of 1.5 million trains.

"After the first set of recalls, retailers and manufacturers reported they would take a very systematic inventory to determine whether any of their products were in violation of the lead paint standard," said Julie Vallese, a spokeswoman for the Consumer Product Safety Commission. "These recalls are a result of that inventory."

Vallese also said consumers should expect more lead-related recalls. "As companies are taking a very systematic inventory, there is the anticipation that there will be more lead recalls in the future."

The seven separate lead-paint recalls of Chinese-made toys announced Wednesday include hundreds of thousands of products made exclusively for two retailers -- Target Corp. and Jo-Ann Stores Inc. Lead paint also caused problems for playthings and jewelry manufactured abroad by two companies that sell to a wide variety of stores.

Target warned about excessive lead in paint on about 350,000 of its Happy Giddy Gardening Tools and Children's Sunny Patch Chairs.

Jo-Ann Stores recalled 16,000 toy rakes from its Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts stores because lead paint on the rake handles violates federal lead standards.

Toy maker Guidecraft Inc. announced the recall of 10,000 Floor Puppet Theaters because surface paints on the 52-inch toy stage also contain excessive lead.

And RC2 also recalled the five train toys as well as 800 toys from its Knights of the Sword series because three kinds of those action figures also showed higher-than-allowed lead content.

Two companies Wednesday also recalled toy jewelry because of lead:

* Rhode Island Novelty recalled about 850 Children's Spinning Wheel-Metal Necklaces because of high lead levels in the clasps.

* Toby N.Y.C. expanded a recall announced last month of crystal, pearl and wood-bead jewelry sets, adding 23,500 more Toby & Me sets with heart and monkey pendants.

No injuries have been reported in connection with any of the products recalled Wednesday, federal officials said.

This year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled more than 11 million toys, baby bibs and play jewelry because of excessive lead.

Mattel Inc. and its Fisher-Price infant and preschool brand increased consumer anxiety about the safety of Chinese-made toys with its own series of recalls beginning in August.

The El Segundo-based company has since recalled 2.2 million toy cars, trains, Sesame Street shape sorters and Barbie accessories because of lead paint. The company's bigger recall, of more than 17 million magnet toys, stemmed from a design flaw, not production problems in China, the company has said.

Lead paint has been banned in the United States since 1978 because of lead's link to brain and neurological problems, particularly in children's still-developing systems.

Wednesday's recall includes five Thomas and Friends toys from RC2: an all-black cargo car, the Toad vehicle, the olive green Sodor cargo box, an all-green maple tree top and signal base accessories.

RC2 also is recalling 800 Knights of the Sword toys, including three silver knights on red horses: one with an ax, one holding a weapon overhead with both hands and one with a yellow lance.


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