玩具鉛毒案 製造商與美39州達成和解 | 台灣環境資訊協會-環境資訊中心

玩具鉛毒案 製造商與美39州達成和解

2008年12月18日
摘譯自2008年12月15日ENS麻州波士頓報導;陳維婷編譯;蔡麗伶、禾引審校

由中國製造必須回收的玩具之ㄧ。圖片提供:美泰公司。玩具製造業龍頭「美泰」(Mattel) 與旗下子公司「費雪」(Fisher-Price)曾因玩具塗料含鉛量超標,在2007年主動回收架上產品,經過15個月的調查後,該公司與美國39州於15日達成法律和解協議。

根據高等法院在12月15日做出的和解判決(consent judgment),美泰公司必須在2009年1月30日前支付1千2百萬美元,款項將分配給所有達成協議的州政府。

含鉛超量的玩具已經在2007年12月前全數下架,和解判決中也針對目前製造的玩具設立保護機制,避免未來造成類似傷害。

發起此次跨州集體調查與協議的麻州政府將可因此得到62.5萬美元,其中50萬將用在對抗與防止兒童鉛毒,其餘則用來支付本次事件的調查費用。

在2007年8月2日至10月25日期間,共有2百萬件左右的美泰與費雪產品被美國消費者產品安全委員會(Consumer Product Safety Commission)要求回收,這些產品都是在中國簽約製造,玩具表面塗料與基底(substrate)含有過量的鉛。基底指的是表面塗料下所覆蓋的玩具基本材質。

在玩具回收的當時,聯邦規定的表面塗料含鉛標準是600ppm。在案件調查過程中,州政府主管單位發現這些下架的玩具含鉛量不僅超出聯邦標準,有的甚至高達1萬或5萬ppm。

在本次和解協議中,增加了更嚴格的表面塗料與基底含鉛量標準,在2008年11月30日以後製造的玩具都必須遵守。協議中,表面塗料的含鉛量新標準為90ppm,基底則是總量少於300ppm。

從2007年8月檢察官著手調查美泰公司開始,美國國會也通過了「消費者產品安全改善法案」(Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act),同樣制定了更嚴格的表漆與基底含鉛標準,將自2009年2月生效。

根據和解協議,在新的法律規定上路前,美泰公司必須先逐步採行更嚴格的含鉛量標準。美泰公司如果發現自身任何產品違反標準,不論是州方、聯邦或和解協議的標準,都必須主動通知檢察官,並配合檢察官做出改善。

此外,未來美泰公司販賣的玩具若超過協議的含鉛標準,就會被認定是違反了協議,以及違反消費者保護法案。

人體若攝入鉛,無論濃度高低都會受到威脅。微量的鉛會造成神經損傷,智力下降,與長期的行為異常問題。高濃度的鉛會造成癲癇、休克甚至死亡。

鉛中毒是累積性的,大部份中毒兒童的外表與行為不會出現明顯病症。鉛中毒早期的徵狀包括胃部不適、飲食或睡眠困難、頭痛、注意力難以集中等。

雖然所有受影響的玩具都已從市面上移除,消費者對於所購買的玩具如果仍有疑慮,可透過美泰公司網頁(www.mattel.com)查詢產品SKU編號,或以電話洽詢美泰公司(1-800-916-4498)。

Mattel Settles With 39 States Over Toxic Lead in Toys
BOSTON, Massachusetts, December 15, 2008 (ENS) -

Giant toy maker Mattel, and its subsidiary, Fisher-Price, today reached a legal settlement with 39 states, resolving a 15 month investigation into the events that led to a voluntary recall of the companies' toys for excessive lead paint in 2007.

The consent judgment, filed today in Suffolk Superior Court, requires Mattel to make a payment of $12 million by January 30, 2009, to be divided among the participating states.

The toys containing lead were all pulled off store shelves by December 2007, and the consent judgment provides protections against future harm for toys now being manufactured.

As the leader of the multi-state group investigation and settlement, Massachusetts will receive $625,000 as a result of the settlement. Of that amount, $500,000 will be dedicated to combating and preventing childhood lead poisoning and $125,000 will cover the costs of the investigation.

From August 2, 2007, through October 25, 2007, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled approximately two million Mattel and Fisher-Price toys, all manufactured by contractors in China, because the toys contained excessive lead in accessible surface coatings and substrates. A substrate is the base substance a toy is made of that is distinct from the surface coating that covers a toy.

At the time of the recalls, the federal standard permitted for lead in accessible surface coatings was 600 parts per million. During the course of the states' investigation, authorities found that lead levels in the recalled toys not only exceeded the federal standard, but in some instances, tested over 10,000 ppm and 50,000 ppm.

The agreement includes more stringent standards for accessible lead, in both surface coatings and substrates, effective for toys manufactured after November 30, 2008. Under the settlement, the new standards are 90 ppm for lead paint and surface coatings, and 300 ppm total lead for substrates.

Since the attorneys general first contacted Mattel in August 2007, Congress enacted the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which requires more stringent standards for lead in surface coatings and substrates, effective in February 2009.

Under the judgment filed today, Mattel must phase in more stringent standards ahead of the timelines provided by the new law. Mattel is also required to notify the attorneys general if it confirms excessive lead in any of its products in violation of state or federal law, or the consent judgment, and to work with the attorneys general to remedy such violations.

Under the consent judgment, should Mattel sell toys in the future that surpass the judgment's lead standards, that conduct would constitute contempt of the judgment as well as a violation of the Consumer Protection Act.

Lead, at any level, is dangerous in the body. Very small amounts of lead can cause neurological damage, drops in IQ and long term behavioral problems. Higher exposures can lead to seizures, coma or death.

Lead poisoning is cumulative and most children who have it do not look or act sick. Early signs of lead poisoning include upset stomach, trouble eating or sleeping, headache or trouble paying attention.

While all affected toys have been removed from the market, consumers who are concerned that a toy they purchased may be affected can cross check the SKU number on the toy with the recall list on Mattel's website, www.mattel.com, or by calling Mattel at 1-800-916-4498.