Fisher-Price to recall nearly 1 million toys

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Toy-maker Fisher-Price 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 being announced Thursday involves 967,000 plastic preschool toys made by a Chinese vendor and sold in the United States between May and August. 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 Inc. and parent company Mattel Inc. involving lead paint. It is the largest for Mattel since 1998 when Fisher-Price had to yank about 10 million Power Wheels from toy stores.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, David Allmark, general manager of Fisher-Price, said the problem was detected by an internal probe and reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The recall is particularly alarming since Mattel, known for its strict quality controls, is considered a role model in the toy industry for how it operates in China.

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 .06 percent lead accessible to users are subject to a recall.

Allmark says the recall was "fast-tracked," which allowed the company to quarantine two-thirds of the toys before they even made it to store shelves. In negotiating details of the recall, Fisher-Price and the government sought to withhold details from the public until Thursday to give stores time to get suspect toys off shelves and Fisher-Price time to get its recall hot line up and running. However, some news organizations prematurely posted an embargoed version of the story online.

Allmark said the recall was troubling because Fisher-Price has had a long-standing relationship with the Chinese vendor, which had applied decorative paint to the toys. Allmark said the company would use this recall as an opportunity to put even better systems in place to monitor vendors whose conduct does not meet Mattel's standards.

He added: "We are still concluding the investigation, how it happened. ... But there will be a dramatic investigation on how this happened. We will learn from this."

The recall follows another high-profile move from toy maker RC2 Corp., which in June voluntarily recalled 1.5 million wooden railroad toys and set parts from its Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway product line. The company said that the surface paint on certain toys and parts made in China between January 2005 and April 2006 contain lead, affecting 26 components and 23 retailers.

"Anytime a company brings a banned hazardous product into the U.S. marketplace, especially one intended for children, it is unacceptable," said Nancy Nord, acting chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. "Ensuring that Chinese-made toys are safe for U.S. consumers is one of my highest priorities and is the subject of vital talks currently in place between CPSC and the Chinese government."

Carter Keithley, president of the Toy Industries Association, praised Mattel's quick response to the problem, and suggested Mattel will use this setback as a lesson for not only the company but for the entire industry. However, he expressed concern about how the recall and other toy recalls will play out in consumers' minds in advance of the holiday season.

"We are worried about the public feeling," said Keithley, adding he observed how toy companies are embracing strict controls during a recent toy safety seminar in China. "We have thought all along that (consumers) can be confident in the products," he said. "But if companies like Mattel have this, then you have to ask how did this happen?"

Owners of a recalled toy can exchange it for a voucher for another product of the same value. To see pictures of the recalled toys, visit http://www.service.mattel.com. For more information, call Mattel's recall hot line at 800-916-4498.

Here is the list:

List of model names and product numbers for the nearly 1 million recalled Fisher-Price toys, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission:

33662 Elmo Light Up Musical Pal

33663 Ernie Light Up Musical Pal

33664 Big Bird Light Up Musical Pal

34658 Elmo Stacking Rings

39038 Elmo Tub Sub

39054 Sesame Street Shape Sorter

87946 Elmo Keyboard

90267 Ernie Splashin' Fun Trike

90609 Elmo Collectible

90611 Cookie Collectible

90612 Zoe Collectible

90613 Ernie Collectible

90614 Big Bird Collectible

90745 Construction Playset

93068 Elmo Boom Box

93107 Action Fire Engine

93307 Press N Go Elmo

93308 Rev & Go Cookie Monster

93492 Cookie Saxophone

93493 Elmo's Guitar

93615 Splash Tub Puzzle

93780 Music And Lights Phone

B7554 Count To Beat Elmo

B7888 Shake, Giggle & Roll

B7987 Elmo in the Giggle Box

B7989 Silly Parts Talking Elmo

B9620 Dora's Talking House

C6908 Dora, Backpack, Perrito Figure Pack

C6909 Diego Figure Pack

C6910 Swiper Figure Pack

C6911 Boots, Tico Figure Pack

G3825 Dora Talking Vamonos Van

G5112 Sing With Elmo's Greatest Hits

G9717 Giggle Doodler

H2943 Grow with Me Elmo Sprinkler

H3343 Cousin Daisy

H3344 Birthday Dora

H5569 Elmo & Pals (Elmo, Cookie, Ernie)

H5570 Elmo & Pals (Elmo, Zoe, Big Bird)

H4187 Dora Figures in Tube

H4628 Water Fun Tote

H8236 Dora 3 Pack Figures in Tube

H8237 Blue 3 Pack Figures in Tube

H8238 Sponge Bob 3 Pack Figures in Tube

H9124 Chef Dora

H9125 Bedtime Dora

H9186 Giggle Grabber Ernie

H9188 Giggle Grabber Oscar the Grouch

J0338 Diego Talking Field Journal

J0343 Go Diego Go Antarctic Rescue

J0344 Go Diego Go Deep Sea Rescue

J0345 Go Diego Go Mountain Rescue

J0346 Go Diego Go Talking Rescue 4 X 4

J5935 Giggle Grabber Soccer Elmo

J5936 Giggle Grabber Chef Cookie Monster

J6537 Sesame Street Giggle Toolbelt

J6762 Queen Mami

J6763 Royal Boots and Tico

J6765 Prince Diego

J7983 Sesame Street Tub Pots & Pans

J9518 Sesame Street Giggle Drill

J9692 Dora's Talking Pony Place

K0617 Twins Nursery

K3414 Diego - Talking Gadget Belt

K3571 Go Diego Go Mobile Rescue Unit

K3580 Fairytale Adventure Dora

K4139 Go Diego Go Dinosaur Rescue

K4140 Toucan Motorcycle Rescue

L0305 Dora Figure

L3194 Surprise Inside Diego Eggs

L3215 Sesame Street Elmo Jack-In-The-Box

L3488 Sesame Street Birthday Figure Pack

L3507 Sesame Street - Super Boom Box

L5202 Birthday Dora

L5813 Diego Tub Trike

L8905 Pablo & Pals

M0351 Dora Figures Dora & Kitty

M0352 Dora Figures Diego & Bear

M0524 Go Diego Go Talking Gadget

M0527 Sesame Street Giggle Doodler

M0732 Dora's Talking House

M2051 Let's Go Rescue Center

M2052 Fairytale Castle


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