In case you haven’t heard, Mattel has recalled 19 million toys made in China. At the heart of the recall are two main problems: lead paint and magnets. The lead paint problems affect multiple Fisher-Price products as well as a couple of die-cast cars based on the “Sarge” character from the movie cars. In the case of the magnets, recalled toys include a variety of Polly Pocket, Batman, Barbie, Doggie Daycare, and Shonen Jump toys (see here and here). The recalled toys were sold nationwide between May and August of this year.
The risks associated with coating children’s toys with lead paint are self-evident. As for the magnets, they can come loose. Thus, they pose the same risks as the defective Magnetix building kits that were the focus of a recall awhile back — namely, potential intestinal perforation or blockage following ingestion.
An interesting sidebar to all of this relates to the challenges associated with disposing of millions lead-tainted toys. Mass dumping of these toys into landfills could pose an environmental hazard. Lovely. Mattel managed to sell a bunch of toys that aren’t even fit for disposal because they’re so toxic.
As if these toy recalls weren’t enough, the Center for Environmental Health is reporting that certain vinyl baby bibs that were manufactured in China and are currently for sale at Toys’R’Us contain lead at 3-4 times the level that the EPA allows in paint. No word on a recall yet.