U.S. Panel Sets Sept 19 Hearing On Lead-Tainted Toys
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. congressional committee has demanded information from Mattel Inc, Target Corp and 17 other companies that recalled lead-tainted children's products made in China this year, the panel said on Thursday.
The U.S. House subcommittee on commerce, trade and consumer protection will also hold a September 19 hearing on how to protect U.S. children from toys, jewelry and other imported products with lead paint.
Lead paint has been linked to health problems in children, including brain damage.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has overseen a series of Chinese-made toy recalls in 2007 due to lead paint, including Mattel's recent recall of 253,000 Pixar Sarge die-cast toy cars and 967,000 Sesame Street and Dora the Explorer toys. In June, RC2 Corp recalled about 1.5 million wooden Thomas & Friends toy trains imported from China because they contained lead paint.
A number of recalls by smaller U.S. companies have involved children's jewelry that was manufactured in China with dangerous amounts of lead paint.
"These massive recalls of lead-contaminated products raise serious concerns," said Rep. John Dingell, a Michigan Democrat who is chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. "I look forward to addressing the problem of unsafe children's products at our upcoming hearing and determining how best to safeguard the health of our nation's kids."
The congressional panel said it sent requests for information to 19 companies including Mattel, Target, Tween Brands, Dollar General Merchandising, Oriental Trading Co., Boyds Collection Ltd., United Imports Inc., Spandrel Sales and Marketing and Cardinal Distributing.
A subcommittee spokeswoman was not immediately available to comment on what information the panel was seeking from the companies.
Several other lawmakers have also expressed concern about the safety of Chinese-made toys. Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, said he plans to meet with top executives of major U.S. toy makers and retailers to ask them to voluntarily submit to third-party inspections of their Chinese-made products.
More than 80 percent of toys on U.S. store shelves are manufactured in China.
Mattel launched a national advertising campaign this month to assure consumers that the company is stepping up testing on of toys for safety.
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