Mattel hit with lead paint class action suit

Lawsuit aims to force company to pay for testing of children who may have contracted lead poisoning from toys.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A class-action lawsuit was filed Monday against Mattel related to its recent recall of more than 1 million lead-tainted toys.

The suit seeks money to be used to pay to test for lead in the blood of plaintiffs' children.

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Mattel International EVP Bryan Stockton comments on the testing of the toy giant's products.
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Last week, Mattel recalled 436,000 "Sarge" lead-painted die-cast vehicles and, earlier in the summer, the toy manufacturer recalled about a million other toys.

Jeffrey Killino, of the Philadelphia firm of Woloshin & Killino, filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court -- near the company's El Segundo, Calif., headquarters -- to compel the toy giant to set up a fund to test kids who may have been exposed to the recalled products for lead poisoning.

Each test, he said, would cost about $50.

"The numbers are staggering," he told CNN in a telephone interview. "We need to act fast. The sooner these kids are identified, the better."

If a significant number of children were identified as having been poisoned by the heavy metal, Killino said he would consider expanding his suit "to a mass tort action."

He acknowledged, though, that it may not be

possible to determine whether the exposure was related to the Mattel products or to another potential source of exposure.

The Sarge recall affected toys made between May 2007 and July 2007 that contained lead paint.

That followed the August 1 recall of 976,000 toys from Mattel's Fisher-Price division -- including Dora the Explorer and Sesame Street characters.

Mattel (Charts, Fortune 500) said it subcontracted the work to companies that failed to follow its strict guidelines.

Lead is particularly toxic to the bodies and brains of children under the age of seven. Even small amounts can cause learning disabilities and brain damage that may not be diagnosed until years after the exposure.

In an e-mail, Mattel said it does not comment on pending litigation. Top of page