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Published: Friday, 10/26/2007

Lead paint sinks 38,000 toy boats

Mattel Inc., which has recalled 21 million Chinese-made toys, yesterday issued another recall affecting 38,000 Fisher-Price plastic boats because the paint contains too much lead.

Dollar Tree Stores Inc., the biggest U.S. retailer of items costing $1, also recalled 300,000 jewelry pieces made in China with Shrek and Spider-ma characters because of excessive lead. Jo-Ann Stores Inc. asked consumers to stop using 97,000 duck-shaped toy watering cans due to lead in the paint.

Mattel, the world's largest toymaker, and other companies have recalled millions of items made in China this year because of design flaws or paint with too much lead, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's Web site. The Fisher-Price boats featured the "Diego" character and cost $15 each, the agency said.

The agency and Family Dollar Stores Inc. yesterday recalled 142,000 purple Halloween pails made in China that had excessive lead levels.

DecoPac Inc. recalled 80,000 sports-themed bobble-head dolls intended as cake decorations because the Chinese-made items have too much lead in the paint.

About 65 percent of Mattel's products, including Barbie dolls and accessories, are made in China, which produces four- fifths of the toys sold in the United States.

The company said it has tested samples of most of the toys it plans to ship for the holiday season since implementing a new testing system. The El Segundo, Calif. toy maker said last week that fallout from the recalls could hurt sales during the quarter that includes the holidays, even though it saw its third-quarter profit slip only 1 percent.

In August, Mattel recalled 1.5 million Fisher-Price preschool toys and 436,000 die-cast vehicles for lead and 18.2 million Barbie, Polly Pocket, and other toys with magnets that may detach. In early September, Mattel withdrew 848,000 Barbie and Fisher-Price toys for lead.

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