200708150331What is going on in China? If it isn’t plastic in the dog food, it lead paint on the toys. The toxic toy scandal reached crisis proportions as as Mattel announced a gigantic 18.2 million toy recall.

In a double-barreled announcement, the company said it was recalling 436,000 Chinese-made die-cast toy cars depicting the character Sarge from the animated film “Cars” because they are covered with lead paint.

At the same time, the toy maker said it was recalling 18.2 million other toys because their small, powerful magnets could harm children if swallowed. The magnetized toys were also made in China, but they followed a Mattel design specification.

The recall includes a Beat favorite: Barbie and her beloved poopin’ pup Tanner.

While we hardly need to enumerate the danger of lead paint, the magnets are no picnic, either.

In the previous recall, there were three reports of serious injuries to three children who swallowed more than one magnet. The magnets can stick to one another through human tissue, leading to perforations. The children suffered intestinal perforations that required surgery, according to the CPSC’s Web site.

Yuck. The tainted toys have already claimed at least one victim: a Chinese toy exec hanged himself in a warehouse over the weekend.

Cheung Shu-hung, who co-owned Lee Der Industrial Co., committed suicide at a warehouse over the weekend, apparently by hanging himself, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported. “When I rushed there around 5 p.m., police had already sealed off the area,” the newspaper quoted a manager surnamed Liu as saying. “I saw that our boss had two deep marks in his neck.”

[Thanks to Mark Coale for some of these links.]