(Adds background, comments from analyst and RC2 Corp's CEO)
NEW YORK, Sept 26 More than half a million Chinese-made children's products were recalled on Wednesday due to dangerous levels of lead paint, including 269,000 of RC2 Corp's RCRC.O popular wooden "Thomas & Friends" toy trains.
Nearly 1.5 million "Thomas & Friends" trains were recalled in June due to unsafe levels of lead, which poses a serious health risk to young children if ingested.
"On behalf of everyone at RC2, let me personally apologize for the worry an additional recall creates for parents everywhere," Chief Executive Curt Stoetling said in a statement. "We deeply regret the burden that recalling toys creates for parents."
RC2 Corp also recalled nearly 800 of its $8 "Knights of the Sword" toys sold between April 2004 and March 2006 because of excessive lead levels.
Five more companies recalled Chinese-made toys on Wednesday as well.
Target Corp (TGT.N) recalled 350,000 gardening toys, including "Happy Giddy Gardening Tools" and "Sunny Patch Children's Chairs" due to lead paint.
The tools -- which range between $3 and $10 -- were sold at Target stores nationwide between August 2006 and August 2007, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Excessive levels of lead, meanwhile, prompted Jo-Ann Stores Inc JAS.N to recall 16,000 toy rakes sold nationwide between January and September of this year and led TOBY N.Y.C to recall 23,500 metal jewelry sets.
The CPSC said the jewelry -- which costs between $8 and $15
-- was sold from August 2006 to August 2007 at TJX Cos Inc's -- was sold from August 2006 to August 2007 at TJX Cos Inc's (TJX.N) T.J. Maxx and Marshalls stores, CBRL Group Inc's (CBRL.O) Cracker Barrel restaurants, Shopko and A.J. Wright.
Lead paint also led Englewood, New Jersey-based Guidecraft Inc to recall 10,000 children's puppet theaters and Rhode Island Novelty to recall 850 children's necklaces.
None of the companies reported any injuries.
Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Sean McGowan said this latest spate of recalls are the result of toy makers testing their products more vigorously. He also said more recalls may be on the horizon.
"It would be very surprising if there weren't more recalls ... It's safe to say the system of testing has changed," McGowan said.
The latest recalls come amid heightened scrutiny of Chinese-made goods following a summer that has seen millions of toys made there pulled from store shelves worldwide, mostly due to lead paint.
Chinese officials have been quick to defend the safety of its exports, despite concerns over the safety of its food, drugs, tires and toothpaste.
(Reporting by Justin Grant, additional reporting by Tenzin Pema in Bangalore)
((Editing by Andre Grenon; Reuters Messaging:Justin.Grant.reuters.com.reuters.net +1-646-223- 6194)) Keywords: RC2 RECALL/
(C) Reuters 2007. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution ofReuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expresslyprohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuterssphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group ofcompanies around the world.nN26247891