Toys, Spinach on recall list
There are two key reasons for Mattel's massive, early August recall of over 20 million toys worldwide: lead paint and loose magnets.
If either is ingested, a variety of immediate and long-term health problems can develop.
The surface paint of some of the recalled items, such as some "Sesame Street" collectibles and "Dora the Explorer" figures contain high levels of lead, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
This lead poses the threat of life-long developmental complications and health risks including hyperactivity, learning disabilities and kidney damage.
With the other sets of recalled toys -- Barbie and Tanner, Polly Pocket, Batman and Doggie Day Care -- the problem is small magnets that are generally glued onto the toys or attached to dolls' clothing.
If the magnets are dislodged and swallowed by a child, a major choking hazard is presented. If more than one magnet is swallowed, they can attract within the body, causing intestinal blockage or perforation of the bowel.
Aug. 17 Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued a consumer alert prompting parents to be aware of the potential toy hazards. "I urge all parents to inventory their children's toys immediately, and if they are unsure if a toy has been recalled, they should err on the side of caution and get rid of it," McDaniel said. "... I think all parents would agree that it is better to be safe than sorry."
If a child has been playing with one of the recalled products, take it away; however, there is no need to panic.
Lead cannot be inhaled or absorbed through the skin, so a child would have to chew a significant amount of the contaminated paint off the toy.
According to the CPSC, loose magnets should be the focus of parents' concerns. In one CPSC study, the commission ranked magnets as the number one "hidden home hazard."
Aside from the choking hazard, if a child ingests more than one magnet and intestinal perforation occurs, emergency surgery is necessary.
Individuals who have not yet disposed of a recalled product in their possession, should immediately take the toy away from children and contact Mattel toll free at 888- 597-6597 to receive a voucher for a replacement toy up to the value of the returned item.
Additional information about the recalled items can be found on the Mattel Web site at www.service.mattel.com, on the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission Web site at www.cpsc.gov or on the Attorney General's Child Product Safety Web site at www.chidproductsafety.com.
Though there have been no reports of illness, Salmonella is once again the culprit in a food recall.
Aug. 29 Salinas, Calif., based produce company Metz Fresh, LLC voluntarily recalled bagged spinach after a routine company test was positive for Salmonella.
According to a statement issued by the Arkansas Department of Health, the only affected spinach is in bags marked with tracking codes 12208114, 12208314 and 12208214. These bags are distributed in both retail and food service packages in 10 and 16 oz. bags and 2.5 and four pound cartons.
In a CNN report, the company said though the tainted codes cover 8,118 cases of spinach, over 90 percent of the produce is on hold and would not be released. In fact, fewer than 1,000 packages of the suspect spinach were distributed throughout the United States and Canada.
Anyone in possession of one of the specified packages can return it to its place of purchase for a refund.