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Mattel Settles CPSC Lead Paint Violation Allegations with $2.3 Million Fine

Toymaker Mattel has agreed to pay $2.3 million to settle allegations that it imported and distributed toys that contained lead levels in paints that were in excess of federal standards.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the penalties, the highest ever for importation and distribution regulation violations by the agency, on its website. Mattel and its subsidiary Fisher Price, have been charged with importing toy that contained lead levels that were higher than the .06 percent by weight, mandated by federal laws. Mattel was charged with importing 900,000 toys that were non compliant with the standard, while Fisher Price, according to CPSC allegations imported more than 1.1 million toys that did not comply with those safety standards. With the fines, Mattel has put those allegations to rest.

The lead toy recall crisis of 2007 has had several positive effects – Congress moved to equip the generally-regarded-as toothless CPSC with more powers to prevent such crises. This led to the implementation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which sets standards for lead in children’s products including toys, among other standards.

In the same week the penalties were announced, product liability lawyers learned of another serious defective children’s product that has already had children being placed in dangerous situations. The CPSC has announced a recall of 5,000 cribs under the following brand names:

  • Bonavita Hudson
  • Babi Italia “Pinehurst” drop side cribs
  • Bonavita “Cabana” drop side cribs

The cribs were manufactured in Vietnam and China, and were imported by New Jersey-based LaJobi Inc.

In the case of the Bonavita Hudson and Babi Italia Pinehurst drop side cribs, a defective pin can pop out causing the drop sides to detach suddenly, creating an entrapment hazard for infants. In the case of the Bonavita Cabana drop side cribs, the wooden slats can break or detach, again posing a strangulation or entrapment hazard to little children.

The company has received at least 16 reports of slat failures, and at least 33 reports of drop side detachment. Two children apparently became entrapped in these dangerous gaps, and one child fell off the crib.  In all cases, no injuries were reported. Parents have been urged to stop using these three cribs immediately.

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