Story last updated at 12/24/2008 - 10:52 am
Alaska Attorney General Talis J. Colberg, along with the attorneys general of 38 other states, reached a settlement agreement Dec. 15 with Mattel, Inc. and Fisher-Price, Inc., its subsidiary, resolving a 16-month long investigation into the events that resulted in a voluntary recall of the company's toys for excessive lead paint during 2007.
The agreement, filed with the Anchorage Superior Court, requires Mattel to make a payment of $12 million by Jan. 30, 2009, to be divided among the participating states.
Alaska will receive $195,000 under the settlement.
From Aug. 2 through Oct. 25, 2007, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled approximately 2 million Mattel and Fisher-Price toys manufactured in China, alleging that the toys contained excessive lead in accessible surface coatings. At the time of the recalls, the CPSC standard permitted for lead in accessible surface coatings was 600 parts per million.
Lead levels taken of the recalled toys during the course of the states' investigation uncovered that levels not only exceeded the federal standard, but in some instances, tested over 10,000 ppm and 50,000 ppm.
The agreement reached by the Attorneys General includes more stringent standards for accessible lead both in surface coatings and substrates, effective for toys manufactured after Nov. 30, 2008.
Since the attorneys general first contacted Mattel in August 2007, Congress has enacted the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) which now provides more stringent standards for lead in surface coatings and substrates, starting in February, 2009. Mattel has agreed with the Attorneys General to phase in more stringent standards ahead of the timelines provided by the CPSIA. Mattel has also agreed with the attorneys general to notify them if it confirms excessive lead in any of its products in violation of state or federal law, or the Consent Judgment, and to work with the attorneys general to remedy such violations.
The states were led by an executive committee, consisting of assistant attorneys general in Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Vermont. California also took part in negotiations, reaching a separate agreement under its Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act.
For questions about the agreement, contact Assistant Attorney General Julia Coster at 907-269-5200.