The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is investigating whether Fisher-Price alerted them as quickly as it should, about lead paint found in over 1.5 million toys manufactured in China, that were part of the worldwide recall announced last week.
Scott Wolfson, a spokesman for the commission, told The Associated Press on Monday that it was conducting “an active and open” investigation into the timing of Fisher-Price’s disclosure. He declined to provide details, including when Fisher-Price notified authorities of the problem.
Fisher-Price, a division of Mattel Inc., has cultivated an image as role model for careful control of its manufacturing in China. However, the company’s record in timely reporting of defects is checkered: Fisher-Price was fined $975,000 in March for not notifying authorities quickly enough about a choking hazard in a toy from its popular Little People product line. In 2001, it paid $1.1 million for a similar infraction regarding safety defects in its Power Wheels toy vehicles.
Under federal law, companies are required to alert CPSC within 24 hours of discovering a dangerous product defect. The required information needs to show that the defect violates federal safety standards, or poses a risk of serious injury or death.
Fisher-Price originally announced a recall of the toys on Wednesday. Popular toys included in the recall are Elmo, Diego and Big Bird, due to excessive amounts of lead.