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Were lessons learned from high profile Mattel lead paint recall?

Back in 2007, toymaker Mattel issued a massive recall concerning toys that contained lead paint. Mattel said that all of the recalled toys had been manufactured by Chinese contractors.

Since Mattel had not previously experienced problems with these manufacturers, they did not have stringent oversight procedures in place. After the lead paint issue was brought to light, in the fallout of the scandal, Mattel put in place a compliance program for its Chinese contractors in an attempt to ensure that such a consumer product defect did not happen again.

Insiders in the toy industry paid special attention to the 2007 Mattel lead paint recall. It was a very high profile recall, with Mattel taking out full page ads in a number of popular publications to apologize to consumers. Many companies began to model their own compliance programs concerning Chinese manufacturers on Mattel’s example.

But did this case truly have a positive impact commensurate with its scope? Well, although the items did not come from Mattel, on September 4, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that at least 20 styles of children’s Marvel and Disney branded sunglasses were being recalled because they were manufactured using lead paint. Once again, these items originated from a Chinese manufacturer. More than 200,000 pairs of these sunglasses were sold by retailers, including Kmart, CVS, Walgreens and Rite-Aid.

The sunglasses involved in this recall were imported by the company FGX International, not Mattel. But when it comes to consumer safety, particularly concerning children’s products, companies should learn from each other’s mistakes.

Source: DailyFinance, “Disney and Marvel Kids Sunglasses Recalled Due to Lead Paint,” Mitch Lipka, Sept. 4, 2014