Mattel needs to step up to the plate. Sure, the biggest toy company in the world can argue they had no knowledge of the lead-based paints their popular Chinese-made toys are brightened with. But the least they can do is to create a fund to help parents do the testing that is needed to determine whether their children have been exposed to the lead from these tainted toys. What happened to manufacturers standing by their products and being responsible to consumers?
Since Mattel did not take that step, I’m glad that California consumers are trying to hold the toy company accountable by filing a lawsuit that seeks class-action status. According to an article in the Daily Breeze, this suit claims Mattel was negligent and should establish a fund in an unspecified amount to pay for medical screening needed to determine if children have been affected by the lead in the toys.
The article says the complaint was brought by Fontana couple Adrian and Mitchell Powell on behalf their two daughters, Megan and Morgan. Parents are worried for a good reason. According the National Safety Council’s Web site, lead is a highly toxic substance, exposure to which can produce a range of adverse health effects including brain damage. Children are particularly more susceptible to it. NSC statistics show more than 400,000 children under the age of 6 in the United States have too much lead in their blood.
Mattel has said through news releases that it has now increased its monitoring of Chinese factories. Earlier this month, the company announced a worldwide recall of almost 19 million of their defective products. The Breeze article states the Powells’ children had played with some of the lead-laced toys on the recall list.
Although they haven’t shown any signs of illness according to this news report, I agree with their parents. As consumers, they have the right to believe that a toy company that caters to their little ones will test products before putting them in the market. These are toys that toddlers put in their mouths all the time. As a parent, it is natural to be concerned.
Mattel should do the right thing and set up this fund to help parents test their children for lead poisoning. It’s the least they can do in the face of such a worldwide fiasco they have caused in a rush to increase their profits and a sheer lack of quality control.