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Attorney General Announces Lead In Toys Settlement With Mattel And Fisher-Price

CONTACT: Elliot Burg, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-2153

December 15, 2008 - After multiple national recalls of toys containing lead, Mattel, Inc., and its subsidiary, Fisher-Price, Inc., have agreed to strict limits on lead in children’s products and to pay $12 million to 39 states. “While lead in housing remains the greatest source of lead poisoning of Vermont children, we will not tolerate additional exposure to our children through toys,” said Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell. Vermont will receive nearly $450,000 for being one of nine states spearheading the action against Mattel.

From August 2 through October 25, 2007, over two million Mattel and Fisher-Price toys were recalled due to concern over excessive lead in accessible surface coatings. The agreement reached by the Attorneys General, contained in a Final Judgment by Consent, includes stringent standards for lead in toys manufactured after November 30, 2008, phased in more quickly than new lead limits set by the recently-enacted federal Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. Mattel is also required to notify the states of excessive lead in any of its products regardless of the date of manufacture, and to work with the Attorneys General to remedy violations.

Attorney General Sorrell noted that his Office has been active on several fronts to address the issue of toxic lead: collaborating with the Vermont Department of Health on their “Get the Lead Out of Vermont” report, working for passage of state laws on lead in consumer products and in housing, and taking sellers of consumer products containing lead to court.

Lead is highly toxic to people, particularly young children; can cause neurological damage such as decreases in I.Q.; and has no safe level in the human body. “This settlement will help make children’s products safer,” he said, “and send a signal to the toy industry that protecting our kids from harm must be everyone’s highest priority,” said Attorney General Sorrell.

For a copy of the Mattel court complaint, settlement document, and other information on the hazards of lead, see the Attorney General’s website at www.atg.state.vt.us , and click on “lead” under “Consumer Protection.”

  Website consulting provided by The National Association of Attorneys General.