Lawsuit Says Mattel Should Pay For Lead Testing

A lawsuit filed Monday asks Mattel to pay for lead testing to determine if children have been exposed to lead from the millions of recalled toys.

The lawyer in the case says the lead poisoning has few symptoms until its very serious, so the parents feel that testing is necessary and that Mattel should pay for it.

The lawsuit is seeking class-action status.

The AP says:

The complaint was brought by Adrian and Michael Powell, of Fontana, on behalf of their children, Megan and Morgan. The couple claims Mattel was negligent and should establish a fund in an unspecified amount to pay for medical screening, such as blood tests, and other monitoring.

Children who ingest lead-laced paint can suffer brain damage, but no injuries have been reported as a result of the recalled toys.

“If you put a toy with lead paint in a kid’s hands, you don’t think you have to pay for lead testing?” Killino said. “They need to step up to the plate and do the right thing.”

A call to El Segundo-based Mattel was not immediately returned.

Should Mattel have to pay for blood tests? We don’t know. It would sure be expensive, though.

Suit Urges Mattel to Pay for Lead Tests [Houston Chronicle]

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  1. mrjimbo19 says:

    something tells me paying for testing would be cheaper then having a child die because of the poisoning. Regardless though this is an extremely tough situation on both sides, I don’t think anyone wants to see Mattel be forced to lay people off or shut down over the costs associated with this.

  2. Theber says:

    Mattel sent the work to China to increase profits. Those profits will (should) now go to lead testing and not laying people off.

  3. marsneedsrabbits says:

    Yeah, that sounds just about right. If they couldn’t be bothered to inexpensively test huge batches of toys, which would have found this problem, they can do it this way and pay for the testing in all the individual little children who played with their poison toys. Mattel cannot say that testing the toys was too expensive, ’cause it isn’t. They can only say that they didn’t want to spend the few bucks it would have cost them to not potentially poison their customer base.

  4. iKnow says:

    @Theber: agreed. Everyone likes to blame China like Mattel holds no responsibility in the matter, what do people expect when you try to cut costs by so much and expect the same quality? China is trying to make due with the budget that Mattel provided for them. The blame definitely goes both ways. Why doesn’t anyone blame Mattel for being the greedy corporate giant that put its customers at risk by not regulating their suppliers more strictly?

  5. Techguy1138 says:

    MrJimbo
    Since lead poisoning so rarely leads to death it’s going to be way cheaper to let kids die. I also doubt that the level of exposure from lead paint would come close to lethal, lead used to be common in plumbing.

    Now it is possible that there are adverse effects and if they wait long enough Mattel can argue that it was other Chinese made toys that caused disability.

    Mattel the toys that stunt your child’s neurological development.(TM)

  6. Techguy1138 says:

    @iKnow:

    To add to the fire even with the recall they still made pretty big profits.

    Mattel tried pretty hard to ensure that everything was up to spec. I think even the Chinese factory was on the up and up. It seems there was a sub-contractor that did the painting and did not use the provided paint.

    That said I doubt that they will skimp on product testing from here on out.

  7. Heyref says:

    Of course the only place any child could have ever been exposed to lead is from paint on a Mattel toy, right? If you’re concerned about your children, get them tested now, not years later when this lawsuit gets settled. Even for suit-happy parents that makes sense, since a positive result two years from now will be meaningless. There will have been too many possible alternative sources of contamination.

    Sorry, this lawsuit is stupid. And yes, I have two daughters.

  8. Scott says:

    Let’s say that Mattel loses this lawsuit and pays for the testing of thousands of children. What then? If a child tests positive for lead exposure, who can prove Mattel’s products were the primary source?

  9. jacknval says:

    My pediatrician told me to have my 3 (under age 4) children tested for lead after the R2 Thomas trains recall a few months ago. We returned 7 trains to R2. After my insurance coverage, I was left with 3 – $27.00 copays. Thankfully their tests were within normal levels. I think that the toys companies should have to pay for the tests, if they are ordered by the childs doctors. Especially since my children were determined to not be at risk according to the checklist my pediatrician went over with me at their regular appts. $81.00 may not sound like much to some, but it was an added expense that I didn’t need.

  10. The_Shadow says:

    @confusedrabbit: The recall happened because Mattel does do it’s own testing. Mattel found lead levels higher than what the Federal government allows and went to the appropriate authority to put the recall together.

  11. yasth says:

    @Techguy1138: The real issue is developmental effects. It might be cheaper to have the kids tested then to be responsible for every ADD, asperger’s, mental retardation, and well just about any neurological syndrome.

    Of course there is then a question of causation…

  12. Jasmo says:

    If your child has elevated lead levels, I highly doubt it’s from a Mattel toy. It’s most likely from paint, gas, or any one of the millions of other substances and products that make up our industrialized world that use, contain, or emit lead. If you were to sue Mattel over this, I’d think that the burden of proof would be on you that that your child was not exposed to lead anywhere else – Good luck with that.

  13. babette says:

    Is my doctor the only one that regularly orders lead levels for my kids? My kids are tested at least once a year. We have never had an issue with our health insurance paying for testing. I accept the co-pay as an acceptable expense for safeguarding the health of my children. My doctor and I agree that there are too many possible chances of exposure not to test them regularly.
    My husband used to work for a lead manufacturer, so maybe I am a little paranoid about lead exposure.

  14. Allura says:

    Suits like this are what make companies think twice about doing the RIGHT thing. Even after the recall, etc, they get sued. Why bother? It would have been cheaper to say nothing at all. Is that really what we want to encourage?

  15. iKnow says:

    @The_Shadow: Mattel did its own testing… after shipping out MILLIONS of toys? When they make cars, do they ship thousands of them out for sale and then test their crash safety rating?

    @Allura: You have a point but supposedly millions of children would have ended up lead poisoned which would definitely lead back to Mattel and put them out of business.

  16. iKnow says:

    @The_Shadow: What I mean is, even if Mattel did their own testing, too little too late, and honestly if you think about it, wtf is the point of doing such safety testing as basic as that after you shipped the product out besides to cover your own ass?