BUS 250: Corporate and Social Responsibility
Professor Ryan Horner
March 2, 2015
Mattel In 2007 Mattel recalled thousands of toys. “The toy recalls had alarmed parents and consumer activists, as well as the toy industry retailers who marketed their products and product safety regulators,“ (Lawrence & Weber, 2011). The recall was due in part to lead paint found on some of their toys. The other part was magnets found on some toys that were choking hazards and causing intestinal damage. “On August 1, 2007, Mattel issued a voluntary recall of 1.5 million Chinese-made Fisher Price products, including the popular Big Bird, Elmo, Diego, and Dora the Explorer characters, after the company learned that they contained too much lead,” (Lawrence & Weber, 2011). Prior to the recalls, Mattel was considered one of the safest companies in regards to product (Lawrence & Weber, 2011). Mattel was responsible and acted respectfully when dealing with this horrible situation.
Mattel acted respectfully and quickly. Mattel voluntarily recalled all the toys that were safety hazards. Mattel assured the public of its work with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in the United States and other safety regulation agencies worldwide (Lawrence & Weber, 2011). Mattel also provided a recall list on their website, a toll-free number to respond to customer concerns, took out ads in various newspapers, provided consumers with prepaid mailing labels to return afflicted toys and provided consumers with the option of a refund or safe replacement product (Lawrence & Weber, 2011).
During the investigation, Mattel learned that some of the vendors and sub contractors had been cutting corners in order to save time and money (Lawrence & Weber, 2011). “Lead paint was at least 30 percent cheaper than unleaded paint, and some thought that it produced a richer color and was easier to apply,” (Lawrence & Weber, 2011). Mattel does testing on the paint prior to distributing it to the various contractors, however one contractor decided not to use the paint provided and used a cheaper version, which contained lead. “Lead can be toxic if ingested and is considered particularly dangerous for children, whose brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the effects of lead. The consequences can include learning disabilities and decreased intelligence,” (Chang, 2009).
Mattel’s investigation of the small magnets had nothing to with the production, but rather with the design (Lawrence & Weber, 2011). “While the company routinely put its products through rigorous stress tests, it did not anticipate that if two or more high-powered magnets were ingested at once they could close off the intestines if they became attached inside a young child,” (Lawrence & Weber, 2011). In order to prevent any damages or dangers in the future, Mattel had to create a new design for products with magnets. Although Mattel put their product to various and rigorous tests, when it came to the magnets, they failed. They should have done more testing in regards to the magnets. In regards to the lead paint, Mattel is the one to blame in this situation. Although it was a subcontractor that used lead paint to make the toys, Mattel should have done a better job screening their products. Parents use to have the opportunity to check if products contained lead by using kits at home. However, that changed. “Parents’ ability to protect their children also got tougher after the Consumer Product Safety Commission said Tuesday that kits used to test for the presence of lead in items including toys are unreliable. The CPSC said it found such kits produce false negatives and false positives,” (AntonucciStaff, 2007). Now, parents had to worry about lead paint, which could cause substantial brain and nerve damage, but also had to worry about potential choking and intestinal damage, which could be fatal.
No amount of money could truly fix