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 today 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 and parent company Mattel 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.
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 0.06 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 today 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 chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
TOY RECALL 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