Mattel, Fisher-Price agree to pay $2.3M. penalty for lead excess

Mattel Inc. and its Fisher-Price Inc. subsidiary agreed Friday to pay a $2.3 million civil penalty for importing and selling toys that contained excessive levels of lead, a violation of a 30-year federal ban on lead paint in toys. The penalty is part of an agreement the companies reached with the Consumer Product Safety Commission and stems from a series of recalls in 2007 involving about 95 Mattel and Fisher-Price toy models, including Barbie doll accessories and Go Diego Go products. Mattel, of El Segundo, Calif., and Fisher Price, of East Aurora, NY, deny having knowingly violated the law. The commission said the civil penalty was the highest for violations involving importation or distribution of a regulated product and is the third-highest of any kind in the agency's history. The fine is tiny compared with Mattel's revenue of $5.92 billion in 2008.