Toy maker Mattel agreed to pay 39 U.S. states $12 million to settle claims it shipped toys tainted with lead paint, according to Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. The settlement resolves a 15-month probe that put Mattel in the crosshairs.
Digital Journal -- Just in time for Christmas, Mattel and its toy unit Fisher Price gave a bittersweet gift to 39 American states: it will pay $12 million as part of a multistate settlement due to the investigation into the tainted toys it allegedly shipped throughout the U.S.
The settlement follows the many recalls of Chinese-made toys last year that didn't meet U.S. safety standards.
Under Monday's agreement, Mattel promises to adopt tougher standards for accessible lead in toys made after Nov. 30, while also agreeing to keep at four years' worth of records for subcontractors that manufacture parts for its toys, including records of lead screenings and results.
Martha Coakley, Attorney General of Massachusetts, welcomed the settlement, saying in a statement:
Lead is highly toxic, particularly to young children. Higher exposures to lead, such as the levels found in these toys, can cause grave health problems.
Other manufacturers are being forced to follow Mattel's lead; since the investigation began, Congress enacted the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which sets higher standards for lead in surface coatings starting in February 2009.