Saturday, September 22, 2007

Mattel's (MAT) Apologizes - I Guess Lead Isn't a Big Deal

Mattel Official Apologizes in China

What bothers me most is the quote in the Times article of Thomas A. Debrowski, Mattel’s executive vice president, who delivered the apology in Chiner (a little JFK lingo for you).

“[The] vast majority of those products that were recalled were the result of a design flaw in Mattel’s design, not through a manufacturing flaw in China’s manufacturers.”

While it may be true that a "vast majority" of the recalled products involved design flaws, the company's web site shows about 1.8 mln toys and accessories recalled for unsafe levels of lead paint during the summer. Yes, just for fun I tabulated the lead paint recall numbers.

It's astonishing the company would downplay about 2 mln lead tainted recalled items versus the design flaws for which they laid themselves prostrate before the Chinese. Even if Mattel "over-recalled" the lead items, as has been recently claimed, the numbers are still in the hundreds of thousands.

There is also a flap over what the Mattel exec apologized for. The Chinese media claiming one thing, the American ear another: Mattel and China Differ on Apology. The Mattel exec should not have been in China to apologize for anything. He should have chided and lectured the Chinese official for using lead paint on even ONE product.

Millions of Thomas The Tank Engine toys made in China for another U.S. toy company were recalled this year for high lead levels. Lead paint has been banned in the U.S. since 1978. It can cause brain damage in kids. U.S. toy companies need to clue China in to this minor detail and Mattel's exec should have done his part today.

These Mattel execs are the Brittany Spears types of the corporate world with no shame, no sense of values, decency, or morals.

No comments: