California toy companies facing lawsuit for dangerous products

California toy companies facing lawsuit for dangerous products

Four toy companies from California are facing a federal lawsuit for producing products that are in violation of Consumer Product Safety Commission standards. The four companies involved in the suit include Toys Distribution Inc., BLJ Apparel Inc., All Seasons Sales Inc. and S&J Merchandise Inc. Federal prosecutors filed the lawsuit in an attempt to force the companies to stop selling and importing the toys. Investigations have been ongoing since 2008, and some of the defendants have agreed to a consent decree. Other defendants have not yet agreed on a settlement, however.

An investigation conducted at one of the company's Los Angeles warehouses revealed that 61 out of the 66 inspected toy samples violated CPSC regulations and statutes. The toys were found to have illegal levels of phthalates, lead paint and total lead content. Some toys for small children under the age of three were found to contain parts that were too small. Also, certain infant rattles were found to present a risk of choking or suffocation. Many of the toys lacked certification from third-party testing entities.

The dangerous products included toy cars, toy musical instruments, dolls, rattles, toy telephones, children's kitchen sets and toy police sets. The CPSC issued 23 Letters of Advice to the companies between 2008 and 2011, informing them of the violations. The CPSC chairman has indicated that the federal government is committed to preventing dangerous toys from getting into the marketplace. He went on to state that the Justice Department is actively enforcing a law known as "the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act," which has improved the safety net for consumer goods in the U.S.

While the federal government may be on the lookout for dangerous products, an injury or death caused by such items can still occur. Any California family whose child has suffered due to a dangerous or defective toy should consider seeking legal help as soon as possible.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Feds Round Up Dangerous Imported Toys" Elizabeth Warmerdam, Feb. 26, 2014

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