Barbie is bad for you…or at least some Chinese made ones are. US toys giant Mattel is recalling 18 million toys worldwide from across its range made by Chinese sub-contractors, over fears about detachable magnetic parts and lead paint.
Barbie tanning playset has a dangerous magnet that can be swallowed, along with Batman Magna and other action figures. Sarge from the “Cars” movie is covered in lead paint, and popular toys such as Polly Pocket, Shonen Jump and Doggie Daycare are also affected.
It is the second major recall in a month for the world’s biggest toymaker, a major embarrassment for the firm and the Chinese authorities struggling with a spate of quality scandals that threaten the “made in China” label.
US Consumer Product Safety Commission head Nancy Nord, told journalists: “Manufacturing of consumer products has changed. Many products sold in the US are not made here. But one thing has not changed, and that is the dedication this agency has to ensure that the hundreds of millions of products sold to the 300 million residents of the US meet this country’s strict safety standards.”
Mattel is known for its strict controls on its Chinese plants, and for putting safety first, so the recalls are a shock. However China’s booming economy is encouraging the unscrupulous to cut corners. In a recent case the boss of the subcontractor killed himself yesterday on learning he had been using lead-based paint supplied by an old friend. Mattel said it was saddened by his death.