One would have thought that the lead paint issue was settled years ago and wouldn’t still be a problem. However, RC2 Corporation, which sells toys under a variety of trade names including Thomas & Friends (TM) Wooden Railway toys, has been selling toys made in China. These toys were found to have lead paint on them, and were recalled in June and September, 2007.
A class action suit was filed in Illinois last year on behalf of several thousand families who had bought lead-painted toys. On Tuesday, January 22, 2008 RC2 announced that it has agreed to settle this suit in the amount of $30 million. Final approval is expected from the judge in a hearing scheduled for May 6.
RC2 has offered cash refunds or replacement toys and will implement new quality controls. In 2006, they were sending bonus gifts to customers who returned their lead-painted purchases, but further testing showed that even these bonus gifts had lead paint, at four times higher than acceptable levels. RC2 then dropped its supplier, Hansheng Wood Products, who had manufactured those bonus gifts.
It does not take much lead ingestion for a child to be harmed, or even killed. Teething children often chew on toys, or anything they can get hold of, and we need to be extra careful about toxic substances on children’s products.