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RC2 Corp., the maker of Thomas & Friends Wooden Railways toys, has settled a class-action suit about last year’s recalls because of lead paint for $30 million. The settlement, which received preliminary approval in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill., calls for reimbursements for all its consumers and improved safety.

Consumers can be reimbursed in cash for the recalled toys or they can receive a replacement and bonus toy. Customers who do not have the recalled toys and proof of purchase can receive $15 coupons.

The Thomas recall — covering 1.5 million toys in June followed by 200,000 in September — was the first to raise global concerns about excessive levels of lead paint in toys made in China. In the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 19 of 61 U.S. toy recalls were because of lead paint, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says.

Before the recalls RC2 had some quality controls but relied on what Chinese manufacturers told it. According to the settlement RC2 must improve testing and auditing of materials, better communication, and make sure contract manufacturers meet their standards.

Since the recall, RC2 has dropped the Chinese manufacturer. The company previously did random testing quarterly or twice a year, like many other companies do. RC2 has now increased testing of materials and toys, set stricter standards for manufacturers and paint suppliers, and increased random inspections and audits. The company also now requires lab test results for every batch of wet paint.

Final court approval of the RC2 settlement is expected in May.

For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Defective and Dangerous Products.

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