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More Mattel toys recalled

NEW YORK - The Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Mattel Inc., said late yesterday it is recalling about 700,000 Chinese-made toys that have excessive amounts of lead paint.

Mattel's reputation has been battered by two previous high-profile Chinese toy recalls this summer.

The recall covers 675,000 units of various Barbie accessory toys that were manufactured between Sept. 30, 2006, and Aug. 20, 2007. The action also involves 8,900 different toys involving Big Big World 6-in-1 Bongo Band toys from the company's Fisher-Price brand. Those products were sold nationwide from July 2007 through August 2007.

Mattel officials did not immediately return phone calls yesterday.

Mattel's last recall, made public Aug. 14, covered about 19 million toys worldwide. They included Chinese-made toys that either had excessive amounts of lead paint or had small magnets that could easily be swallowed by children.

On Aug. 1, Mattel's Fisher-Price division said it was recalling 1.5 million preschool toys featuring characters such as Dora the Explorer, Big Bird, and Elmo because of lead paint. That action included 967,000 toys sold in the United States between May and August.

Lead can cause brain damage when ingested by young children. Under regulations, children's products found to have more than .06 percent lead accessible to users are subject to a recall.

Robert Eckert, chairman and chief executive of El Segundo, Calif.-based Mattel, warned at a press conference last month that there may be more recalls of tainted toys as the company steps up its investigations into its Chinese factories and retests products.

Still, the latest action would be yet another blow to Mattel, which had cultivated an image of tightly controlling production in China. The Consumer Product Safety Commission also said yesterday it was considering a possible investigation of whether Mattel notified authorities as quickly as it should have in connection with the Aug. 14 recall.

With more than 80 percent of toys sold worldwide made in China, toy sellers are nervous that shoppers will shy away from their products in this holiday season.

Last month, Toys "R" Us said it was recalling thousands of art sets made in China due to excessive levels of lead in some black watercolor paints.

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