Feds recall 500,000 toys over lead paint concerns

Federal regulators recalled more than a half-million toys Wednesday because of lead paint — including 200,000 Thomas and Friends Wooden Railway Toys from RCA Corp., the company that began the wave of lead scares with a June recall of 1.5 million trains.

The seven separate lead-paint recalls of Chinese-made toys included hundreds of thousands of products made exclusively for two retailers — Target Corp. and Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts. Lead paint also caused problems for playthings and jewelry manufactured abroad by two companies that sell to a wide variety of stores.

Target warned about excessive lead in paint on about 350,000 of its brightly colored Happy Giddy Gardening Tools and Children's Sunny Patch Chairs.

Jo-Ann Stores Inc. recalled 16,000 toy rakes because lead in the paint on the rake handles violates federal lead standards.

Toymaker Guidecraft Inc. announced the recall of 10,000 Floor Puppet Theaters because surface paints on the 52-inch toy stage also contain excessive lead.

RC2 recalled five train toys as well as 800 toys from its "Knights of the Sword" series, because three models of action figure showed higher-than-allowed lead content. Two companies on Wednesday recalled toy jewelry because of lead:

  • Rhode Island Novelty recalled about 850 Children's Spinning Wheel Metal Necklaces because of high lead levels in the clasps.
  • Toby N.Y.C. expanded a recall first announced last month of crystal, pearl and wood-bead jewelry sets, adding 23,500 more Toby & Me sets with heart and monkey pendants.

No injuries have been reported in connection with any of the products recalled Wednesday.

federal officials said.

"After the first set of recalls, retailers and manufacturers reported they would take a very systematic inventory to determine whether any of their products were in violation of the lead-paint standard," said Julie Vallese, a spokeswoman for the Consumer Product Safety Commission. "These recalls are a result of that inventory."

Vallese said consumers should expect more bad news about lead and toys: "There is the anticipation that there will be more lead recalls in the future."

So far this year, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled more than 11 million toys, baby bibs and play jewelry because of excessive lead.

Industry leader Mattel Inc. and its Fisher-Price infant and preschool brand increased consumer anxiety about the safety of Chinese-made toys with its own series of recalls beginning in August.

The El Segundo, Calif. -based company has since recalled 2.2 million toy cars, trains, Sesame Street shape sorters and Barbie accessories because of lead paint. The company's bigger recall, of more than 17 million magnet toys, stemmed from a design flaw, not production problems in China, the company has said.

Lead paint has been banned in the United States since 1978 because of lead's link to brain and neurological problems, particularly in children's still-developing systems.

Wednesday's recall includes five Thomas and Friends toys from RC2: an all-black cargo car, the "Toad" vehicle, the olive green "Sodor" cargo box, an all-green maple tree top and signal base accessories.

RC2 also is recalling 800 "Knights of the Sword" toys, including three silver knights on red horses: one with an ax, one holding a weapon overhead with both hands and one with a yellow lance.

Pictures of the recalled toys and information about returning them can be found at www.cpsc.gov.

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