August 14, 2007

Mattel CEO Announces He's A Dad! Also, That They're Recalling 10 Million More Unsafe Toys

Mattel took out full-page ads in several national newspapers today so that CEO Robert Eckert could tell "fellow parents" that he's "a father of four." And then this morning, Mattel and the CPSC held a press conference to announce the recall of around 10 million more toys for toxic levels of lead paint and dangerously dislodgable magnets.

Congratulations! Mattel Captures 54% Share of the CPSC Recall Market!

According to the New York Times, the worldwide total number of toys in the recall is over 18 million. All were made in China. Frankly, none seem like 0-3yo toys, but the lead contamination is on half a million die-cast Sarge jeeps from Cars, so you never now; everyone does love the Pixar. From the NYT [with a bit of context that the Times left out for some reason]:

“We take this very seriously,” said Robert A. Eckert, the chairman and chief executive of Mattel, on a conference call this afternoon. “We’re reaching out to people today and, particularly parents. We’ve changed our own testing procedures [which were depicted so favorably on the front page of The New York Times just a couple of weeks ago, when the company knew these announcements were coming down the pike], so we’ll be extra vigilant in this area.”

[Thanks to such reporting as the front page story in this newspaper that somehow missed every one of these major looming issues], Mattel has a reputation for being one of the most conscientious toy makers and is known [thanks, most recently, to the Times] for having sophisticated inspection and testing systems at many of its China factories to guard against flawed, defective or tainted products.

The magnet recall mostly covers Pocket Polly and other toys, and is an expansion of a previous magnetic toy recall from last fall. Magnets are less a Crazy China-style production problem than a fundamental design risk; when magnets find their way out of a toy, kids eat them, then they stick together and perforate the kid's digestive tract, requiring major emergency surgery.

The kid has some magnetic toys, Magna-Tiles, which I've never heard reports of any breakage/health risks, but now I'm frankly a bit uneasy about them.

Mattel Issues New Recall of Chinese Toys [nyt]
CPSC Toy Hazard Recalls feed []

Previously: Lead-using Chinese toy mfr kills market for plastic Dora stuff, self


My favorite is the Pooper-Scooper Barbie:

When do American CEOs start offing themselves?

I guess as soon as their lawyers work out the details of their golden trick rope?

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