Product Recall News

News Item 1: Mattel Expands Toy Recall

It was a "Black Tuesday" for Mattel Inc. on Aug. 14 as the US toy maker, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), expanded its recall of toys made in China due to possible lead paint and loose magnet hazards. Most recently added to the list are BatmanTM and One PieceTM magnetic action figure sets, "Sarge" die cast toy cars, Barbie and TannerTM play sets, Doggie Day CareTM play sets, and various Polly Pocket dolls and accessories with magnets.

The seven-inch tall action figures include the Batman logo on the front and include magnetic accessories. The model number is located on the lower right corner of the tag which is sewn to the figure. The recalled One PieceTM toy is the One PieceTM Triple Slash Zolo RoronoaTM figure with model number J4142. The 5.5-inch-tall action figure has green hair, black pants and has magnets in his hands which connect to magnets on various swords that the figure can hold. The model number is printed on the back of the action figure's left leg.

Small, powerful magnets inside the accessories of the toy figures can fall out and be swallowed or aspirated by young children. If more than one magnet is swallowed, they can attract inside the body and cause intestinal perforation, infection, or blockage which can be fatal.

Surface paints on "Sarge" die cast toy cars, CPSC reports, could contain lead levels in excess of federal standards. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects.

Consumers are advised to immediately take these recalled toys away from children and contact Mattel toll-free at 888-597-6597 anytime, or visit www.service.mattel.com.

For more information on toys recalled this month due to lead or magnet hazards, visit http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerelaug07.html.

Commenting on Mattel's action, Sierra Club officials stated that the recalls will continue until the federal government and children's product manufacturers cooperate to protect children from toxic toys.

"Producers of children's products should not simply pass the blame on to their overseas manufacturers but also do their part by cooperating with U.S. agencies to minimize lead poisoning risks and reviewing and carefully testing all products in their lines which are manufactured outside of the United States," Sierra Club officials stated. "We encourage parents to remain vigilant about the toys their children use, especially as the holiday gift-giving season approaches."

The organization lists tips for parents to keep children safe at http://www.sierraclub.org/lead.

News Item 2: Company Initiates Urgent Worldwide Voluntary Recall for Hotel Toothpaste

Gilchrist & Soames, an Indianapolis-based provider of toiletry products for the hotel industry, announced on Aug. 13 that it has initiated a worldwide voluntary recall of its Gilchrist & Soames 0.65oz/18ml toothpaste manufactured in China for the company by Ming Fai Enterprises International Co., LTD, after independent tests showed some samples of the toothpaste contained diethylene glycol, or DEG.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not aware of any U.S. reports of poisonings from toothpaste containing DEG, Gilchrist & Soames officials stated. However, the agency is concerned about potential risks from chronic exposure to DEG and exposure to DEG in certain populations, such as children and individuals with kidney or liver disease. DEG in toothpaste has a low but meaningful risk of toxicity and injury to these populations, Gilchrist & Soames officials said. Toothpaste is not intended to be swallowed, but FDA is concerned about unintentional swallowing or ingestion of toothpaste containing DEG.

This voluntary recall is being conducted in cooperation with the FDA. The company also has notified the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform in the UK to enable it to notify the European Commission to launch a RAPEX notification in the European Union.

"After receiving the FDA alert June 1 about tainted toothpaste manufactured in China, we immediately contacted our two Chinese toothpaste suppliers and initiated a series of independent lab tests in both Hong Kong and the United States to determine the possible presence of DEG," said Kathie De Voe, president of Gilchrist & Soames.

At the same time, Gilchrist & Soames stopped all outgoing shipments and quarantined all of its "Made in China" toothpaste. The company also communicated with all of its hotel clients and suggested that they stop offering Chinese-made Gilchrist & Soames toothpaste to their guests until further investigation and independent testing by Gilchrist & Soames and the FDA.

De Voe said, "The fifth round of our independent lab tests showed the presence of DEG in some samples at levels exceeding FDA guidelines from one of our China suppliers. We immediately began the process of initiating a voluntary recall of our complimentary-sized (.65oz/18ml) Gilchrist & Soames toothpaste. We want to ensure that any contaminated toothpaste is safely disposed of and/or destroyed."

Gilchrist & Soames is notifying its hotel clients in those countries where the toothpaste was distributed to discard their inventories. The company is working with each hotel on a guest notification program. Materials will inform guests about this voluntary recall, including the FDA Web address for current toothpaste recalls (http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/toothpaste.html), as well as a toll-free telephone number at Gilchrist & Soames U.S. headquarters (1-866-587-6542) that hotel guests may call if they desire more information about the recall.

Gilchrist & Soames Web page on the toothpaste recall: http://gilchristsoames.com/about/recall-08132007

This article originally appeared in the 08/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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