Mattel has now announced its third recall in six weeks because certain toys were found to contain dangerously high levels of toxic lead paint. As with all of the 16 recalls of various toys this year, the products were made in China. Why? Because the cost of lead paint is up to 30% cheaper than non-toxic, lead-free paint. A sales manager at a Chinese toy company recently told a NY Times reporter that her company does use lead paint, but that it discloses this fact to its client (i.e., Mattel and other US companies). The sales manager said:
It depends on the client’s requirement. If the price they offer make it impossible to use lead-free paint, we’ll tell them that we might have to use leaded paint. If they agree, we’ll use leaded paint. It totally depends on what the client wants.
One hopes that this statement is not true with respect to U.S. companies. Lead paint causes permanent brain damage in children. Can companies like Mattel really be turning a deaf ear when their Chinese manufacturers tell them that in exchange for the cheap cost of off-shore production, the manufacturer will have to use lead paint?
For more information on this subject matter, please refer to our section on Defective and Dangerous Products.