Wednesday, August 1, 2007

OH NO-- Not Big Bird & Elmo too!

I do not envy any parent that has to take away their child's Elmo or Dora toy.

excerpt from:

Fisher-Price to recall 967,000 toys - Yahoo! News

By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO and NATASHA T. METZLER, Associated Press Writers

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

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More on this topic:

Originally Posted by Pamela to Pam's Coffee Conversation at 9/05/2006 05:52:56 PM

You're middle-class, live in a new suburban home and take all reasonable precautions to protect your children. So you think that your children could never be poisoned by lead. Don't be so sure.

As the following article points out, "
In the past few years, it ( lead) has shown up in everything from Reebok charms and Disney necklaces to vending machine jewelry and other everyday items such as computer cords, vinyl mini-blinds and pottery."

One of the reasons that American manufacturers can not compete in the global marketplace are the safety standards to which they must adhere. Safety standards that are required for very, very good reasons. Now that American manufacturers are being driven out of business and we are importing more and more consumer goods without the same safety requirements. Children are being exposed to lead poisoning via toys that their parents are purchasing at those everyday, low, low prices.

Often undetected, lead poisoning new risk to kids
Toxin in imported toys is latest threat to children

By Tammy Webber

Summary: The 3-year-old boy's blood-lead level was among the highest Marion County health officials had seen in years -- and no one knew why. After several months and two courses of aggressive chemical treatment to try to purge the lead from his blood, they finally found the cause: He had swallowed a metal charm.

Doctors removed the charm, likely saving the boy's life, but the suspected damage to his brain will never be reversed.

Lead poisoning, largely eliminated as a childhood health issue decades after it was banned from paint and gasoline, is once again creating anxiety among parents and health officials. The metal is showing up in an alarming range of imported consumer products, posing an often-unrecognized danger to children.

Last month, Indiana officials discovered lead in bendable animal toys given away by public libraries.

In the past few years, it has shown up in everything from Reebok charms and Disney necklaces to vending machine jewelry and other everyday items such as computer cords, vinyl mini-blinds and pottery.

In Indiana, jewelry, decorative key chains, pottery and Mexican candy have poisoned children.

Deaths are rare, though a 4-year-old Minnesota boy died this year after swallowing a charm Reebok gave away with some of its shoes.

Lead poisoning still poses the greatest threat to poor, urban children who live in houses with old lead-based paint. Most known lead-poisoning cases still are caused by ingesting paint chips and dust.

"The list of (lead) sources is really unbelievable," said Jo Rhodes, health educator for the Indiana State Department of Health's lead program.

No exact numbers on children poisoned by lead in consumer products exist because government testing targets only the poor, who are more likely to live in older houses where lead-based paints were used. Under federal law, children receiving Medicaid, the government health-care program for the poor, must be tested for lead because they are more likely to live in those older houses.

But most of those children are not being tested, sometimes because doctors don't realize it's a requirement, health officials said.

The state Department of Health has been asked by a lead-poisoning task force subcommittee to consider recommending that all Indiana children be tested for lead poisoning.

But state Health Commissioner Dr. Judith Monroe said she doubts wider testing would work, because physicians and parents largely ignored similar recommendations in the past.

George and Kim Bergan never imagined their 8-year-old daughter might be exposed to lead.

But that was before Ellen Bergan got a toy from the Monroe County Public Library this summer that was recalled as a lead hazard.

"When you think of (lead), you generally think of old homes and kids chewing on windowsills," said George Bergan, whose family lives in Ellettsville, near Bloomington.

In the past two years alone, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued more than 20 lead-related recalls for everything from jewelry and animal flashlights to painted toys and sidewalk chalk.

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