Dora the Explorer leads toy giant's recall

By Angela Gregory

A range of Fisher-Price toys are being recalled by parent company Mattel in New Zealand and around the world because their paint contains excessive amounts of lead.

The worldwide recall involves 967,000 plastic preschool toys made by a Chinese company.

In New Zealand, about 1300 of the plastic toys sold between May 1 and yesterday are being recalled.

They included Sesame Street shape sorters, mini-musical instruments, a giggle phone and Dora the Explorer figures.

In advertisements published in newspapers today, Mattel says paint on the toys may contain levels of lead which, if ingested, could have health ramifications.

It says that there have been no reports of injuries in New Zealand or overseas.

Buyers will receive cash refunds. Customers are told not to return the toys to retail stores but to contact Mattel on a toll-free number or go to its website.

The affected toys were sold at toy retailers and supermarkets in New Zealand.

In the United States 83 types of toys - including the popular Big Bird, Elmo, Dora and Diego characters - are the latest in a wave of recalls that have heightened global concern about the safety of Chinese-made products.

The recall is the first for Mattel and its Fisher-Price subsidiary involving lead paint.

Fisher-Price chief David Allmark said the recall was troubling because the company had a long-standing relationship with the Chinese manufacturer, which had applied decorative paint to the toys.

China's Commerce Minister Bo Xilai last night said 99 per cent of its exports were safe in the wake of the recall as concern seemed to be growing in Beijing over the potential fallout and a slew of cases involving shoddily made and dangerous products made in China.

Mattel has warned parents to keep suspect toys away from their children. It can be contacted on 0800-174-063.

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