Mattel Inc. and eight other toy companies agreed to pay nearly $1.8 million to settle a California lawsuit over Chinese-made toys tainted with lead.
California Attorney Gen. Jerry Brown and Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo filed the suit last year. They alleged toy companies and retailers knowingly exposed individuals to lead and failed to provide any warning about the risk, a violation of Proposition 65, the state’s safe drinking water and toxic enforcement act.
The toy companies agreed to adopt standards immediately under the new federal Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which bans lead from children’s toys but isn’t scheduled to take effect until February. The settlement money will create a fund to monitor the companies’ compliance.
“These consumer protection agreements will safeguard California’s children from lead-contaminated toys this Christmas,” Brown said in a statement late Thursday.
El Segundo-based Mattel last year recalled more than 21 million Chinese-made toys after it became known that the products were tainted with lead paint and tiny magnets that children could swallow. The company then took “steps that go beyond current requirements to give parents greater confidence that the Mattel toys that they buy this holiday season will be the safest ever,” it said in a statement at the time.
The nine companies admitted no wrongdoing as part of the settlement. Other companies in the settlement are Marvel Entertainment Inc., RC2 (maker of the Thomas the Tank Engine toys), A & A; Global Industries, Cranium Inc., Eveready Battery Co., Toy Investments, Kids II, and Amscan.
Remaining defendants not part of the settlement include retailers Costco, KB Toys, Kmart, Michaels, Sears, Target, Toys ‘R’ Us and Wal-Mart.
Mattel shares were down 26 cents, or 2 percent, to $13.61 in Friday morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.