WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A group of senators have asked the head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission whether the United States should detain and inspect all painted children’s products from China for lead levels after a series of toy recalls.
“We need meaningful safety standards for imported products and a CPSC with the resources to do their job,” said Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin, who wrote on Thursday to CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord along with three Democratic colleagues.
Mattel Inc. said on Wednesday it was recalling about 1.5 million Chinese-made toys worldwide because their paint may contain too much lead.
The recalled toys made for Mattel’s Fisher-Price unit include popular preschool characters like Elmo and Big Bird along with dozens of other items.
The safety commission has issued six different recalls of Chinese-made toys for excessive lead levels since March.
Lead paint has been linked to health problems in children, including brain damage.
The senators, including Bill Nelson of Florida, Charles Schumer of New York and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, asked Nord for the CPSC to conduct an analysis within seven days to determine if there is sufficient risk of lead contamination to pursue a “detain and test” program on Chinese toys.
A CPSC representative was not immediately available to comment on the request.
Durbin has introduced legislation that would increase CPSC funding, speed company responses to the agency and allow it to levy civil penalties against retailers who knowingly sell a recalled product.