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Disney Toy Recall Includes 35,000 Lead Painted Baby Einstein Blocks

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Disney is the latest company to announce a toy recall of dangerous toys that contain illegal levels of lead. The company announced this afternoon that it was recalling 35,000 Baby Einstein toy blocks made with lead paint. The Disney recall was only one of several announced today, as more than a half million more Chinese- manufactured toys were found to contain hazardous amounts of lead.

In addition to the recall of lead-painted Baby Einstein blocks, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) issued recalls for a variety of products that contained high levels of lead. These include coined shaped “Pirates of the Caribbean” flashlights, cups shaped like Frankenstein’s head, Totally Me! Funky Room Decor Set decorating kits imported and sold by Toys “R” Us Inc. and a variety of wooden toys imported and sold by KB Toys Inc. This wave of recalls even included products not necessarily meant for children, including key chains containing high levels of lead, as well as bookmarks and journals with lead-tainted surface paint. All of the products being recalled were manufactured in China.

These latest announcements come on the heels of several highly publicized recalls of dangerous Chinese toys. Since August, toy giant Mattel has issued three separate recalls of toys with hazardous magnets and lead paint. Just last week, the CPSC recalled another half million toys distributed by various companies that contained too much lead. And since June, the RC2 Corporation has announced two recalls of Thomas & Friends wooden toy trains. The second RC2 recall actually included bonus toys the company gave away to atone for the first Thomas & Friends recall.

All of these toy recalls have angered parents and prompted toy companies like Mattel to promise stricter monitoring of Chinese manufacturers and more thorough testing of toys. For example, following the second Mattel recall, Disney made the decision to start conducting its own tests of toys featuring Mickey Mouse, Cinderella and other popular characters last week. Among the toys recalled for lead paint in the second Mattel recall were die cast cars based on a character from the Disney movie “Cars”.

The CPSC said that the latest rounds of recalls are the results of these tougher testing policies. “There will be more recalls because of lead violations, but we also anticipate that we will begin to see fewer and fewer of them as a big portion of the marketplace will have been tested,” a CPSC spokesperson told the Associated Press. “What you’re seeing now is the result of a systematic approach to going through inventories.”

Regardless of the reason, toy recalls are up significantly this year. In its thirty year history, the CPSC has issued 154 recalls for toys containing dangerous levels of lead. Nearly half have occurred since January 2006, something that has worried parents and incurred the wrath of lawmakers. The crisis surrounding hazardous toys has led several lawmakers to propose various solutions to the problem ranging from more powers for the CPSC to a total ban on toys from China.

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