Business and political leaders have a way of speaking about regular people without talking to them.
Yesterday, Chief Executive Robert A. Eckert told analysts and investors, according to the Los Angeles Times, that "There will be a Christmas and Mattel, Fisher-Price, Radica and American Girl toys will be under the tree."
In other words, he expects you to buy his toys, despite having recalled 21 million of them in the past few weeks, most because Chinese factories had used lead paint, despite having been banned in the United States three decades ago. At even small levels, exposure can cause permanent brain damage to children and fetuses, lowering IQ and affecting other neurological activity, according to an enormous body of research.
He may be right. Profits at the toy maker slipped just 1% this quarter, and it still pocketed $236.8 million. Again, that's $236.8 million we all spent, to be clear. Actually, we spent $1.84 million on Mattel's toys -- a 3% increase.
The good news here is that Mattel, other toymakers, and the governments in China and the U.S. have all made a lot of noise about improving toy safety since the spate of recalls began. Already, a Consumer Product Safety Commission-requested initiative has uncovered dozens of additional products, made by a variety of different toy makers, that violate lead standards.
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