It's enough to age a girl, particularly Barbie, who is 50 years old now. Daddy Mattel keeps putting children in peril, with toys tainted with lead paint. And our government regulators pretend to punish Mattel Corp.
This is a follow-up on an Ethic Soup article posted back in December, "Toy Giant Mattel Settles With 38 States for Tainted Lead-Painted Toys." At that time, Mattel agreed to pay $12 million to 38 U.S. states to settle claims that it shipped toys tainted with lead paint.
MATTEL PAYS FEDERAL CIVIL PENALTIES
Last week the toymaker agreed to pay $2.3 million in civil penalties for violating a federal lead paint ban that resulted in the recall of millions of popular-branded toys in 2007. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports the fine was the highest ever for the agency's regulated product violations and the third largest in its history. (This shows just how lenient the feds are when combating the greed of big corporations -- very!)
The $12 million in settlements and now $2.3 million in federal fines may sound like a lot of money, but look again. Mattel Corp is the world's largest toy manufacturer and last year had around $6 billion in revenues. The Barbie line alone accounts for 80 percent of the company's profits. (Have you purchased a Barbie outfit lately? OUCH!)
YOU CALL THIS PUNISHMENT?
The fine and settlement costs are hardly a punishment for Mattel. They are a mere drop in Barbie's pink motorcycle saddlebag. Aw, does Mattel Corp. have a boo-boo?
I recall seeing a photograph a couple of years ago in The New York Times of a Mattel official apologizing in China for harming the reputation of Chinese manufacturers in its recalls of nearly 20 million Chinese-made toys.
It is in China where Mattel manufactures 65 percent of its toys, a lot of them in partnerships with Chinese vendors.
In the U.S. many criticized Mattel for kowtowing to China. "It's like a bank robber apologizing to his accomplice instead of to the person who was robbed," said Senator Charles Schumer of New York. "They're playing politics in China rather than doing what matters."
So Mattel pays some fines to our federal regulators, pays settlements with 38 U.S. states and apologizes to China, where it continues to have its toys made. So, what's changed? Nothing really.
Do we really believe this mega corporation, with huge profits, is going to give up its partnerships with China manufacturers who provide cheap products with lead paint, resulting in some profit loss, just to gain safety for our children? Think again. Greed rules.
TO READ "MATTEL SECRETLY EXEMPT FROM SAFETY LAW TOY TESTING" CLICK HERE.
CLICK AND READ "WHERE ARE MATTEL'S ETHICS: UNDERCOVER LIKE BURKA BARBIE"
TO READ "TOY GIANT MATTEL SETTLES WITH 38 STATES FOR TAINED, LEADPAINTED-TOYS" CLICK HERE.