Barbie accessories are not the only toys that have been recalled by Mattel Toys India for posing health hazards. The list also includes Batman figures, Cookie Monster, Soccer Elmo, Ernie and Oscar the Groush.
In the process, this raises further alarm since it suggests that unbranded toys imported from China are not the only ones that pose health risks for children on account of high levels of toxic elements and compounds present in them.
AdvertisementIn the case of Batman toys, Mattel said the impact on India was related to one product alone - the Armor Batman. But the company offered to refund the money for the other three toys in the group as well.
"This toy has been voluntarily recalled due to the possibility that the toy may liberate small magnets, and is based on Mattel's new and more rigorous standards for magnet retention," the company said in a statement.
"In all, less than 2,000 pieces of this toy sold since September 2006 would be affected by this announcement," Sanjay Luthra, managing director of Mattel Toys India added.
In the case of the Barbie doll, the company said the recall notice had been issued for two accessories - the furniture set, including table, chair, miniature dog, salad bowl and plate, as also the play-set assortment like handbag.
"In all, around 7,500 pieces of these two toys sold since January 2007 would be affected by this announcement," Luthra said.
The third set of dolls recalled - this time for lead paint hazard - belong to the Sesame Street Press and Go Racer assortment and are hard-bodied toys and vehicles with Sesame Street characters.
Mattel said some 200 pieces of these toys have been shipped to the Indian market since March 2007.
Globally, Mattel made its third major recall announcement Wednesday in little more than a month because of excessive amount of lead paint in Chinese-made toys and said some 8,000 pieces would be affected by the announcement.
The recall also included 90,000 pieces units of GeoTrax locomotives and 8,900 Big Big World six-in-one Bongo Band toys, both from the company's Fisher-Price brand.
In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha last week, Minister of State for Health Panabaka Lakshmi said newspaper reports about toxic toys being imported from China were not without basis.
"According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), NGO Toxics Link had conducted a study in 2006 which examined toys from Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai, and reported high levels of cadmium and lead in PVC used in soft toys."
The laboratory tests by Toxic Links had revealed that out of 111 toy samples tested, 77 were found to be made of PVC materials. All the 88 samples further tested were found to contain lead and cadmium in varying concentrations.
"However, India still does not have any enforceable standard for the total content of lead, cadmium and other toxics metals in toys," the study noted.