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US Toy Manufacturer Recalls Chinese-Made Toys

U.S. toymaker Fisher-Price is recalling 1.5 million Chinese-made toys because of concerns their paint contains too much lead. The recall is the latest in a series of Chinese product safety scares involving food, drugs and other products. For VOA producer Kristal Knight, Jim Bertel has more.

Fisher-Price says it is pulling 967,000 plastic toys off U.S. shelves. Another 533,000 are being recalled internationally. The precaution includes around 80 types of toys that have been sold in the United States since May. They include the popular Big Bird, Elmo, and Dora the Explorer characters.

The recall has some parents concerned.

"This is serious business -- this is serious,” said one parent. “You cannot fool around with young children's health."

Fisher-Price's parent company Mattel says it is pulling affected products from shelves and it has stopped shipments to retail stores. And the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has advised people to take away any suspect toys and contact the company.

"I will definitely check and see what was recalled, and make sure I don't have anything like that," said another parent.

Mattel says the toys were produced by a contract manufacturer in China. Lead is toxic and can cause brain and blood disorders in young children. China is the world's largest exporter of toys. Officials there defend the country's safety record and argue that product safety is not a uniquely Chinese problem.

That is little consolation to many parents. "You trust toys in the stores and to not be able to trust them, you don't know what you're getting sometimes,” noted one parent.