Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Point of Fact: You Can Sue Big Corporations

Months ago, my sister excitedly went home carrying a bagful of toys for our first and only nephew, Luis. The bag contained Elmo dancing to the tunes of Hokey Pokey, Elmo singing ABC’s and repetitively uttering my sister’s recorded voice “Luis!” and Elmo laughing when tickled by the waist.

Three different Elmos. You can tell she’s fond of this friendly, bright red-furred, high-pitch voiced Sesame Street character.

A few weeks later, I stumbled into a news report that Mattel, the largest toymaker in the world, has announced a major recall of various Fisher-Price toys, which include Sesame Street character toys. The company expressed concerns that lead may be contained in the toys’ surface paints from which young children may incur toxic poisoning.

Lead is a highly toxic substance, exposure from which can lead adults and children to suffer a wide range of adverse health effects, including behavior and learning problems, brain damage and anemia among others. Young children are more prone to lead poisoning though, as millions of children have already suffered health effects due to its hazardous elements. Lead can be exposed to humans most often through paint and is just of microscopic size.

My sister immediately removed the toys from the house and after being aware of lead’s hazards: that it is cumulative and symptoms may not appear as soon as the child is exposed, she brought Luis to his pediatrician for a blood test. Thankfully, our nephew is safe.

Consumer Product Safety Commission, one of today’s numerous safety groups, promised thorough investigation of the industry and review its safety standards. However, they unfortunately admit that more recalls will be coming, with toys and other household items.

Mattel is a huge corporation but if an average kid like my nephew incurs lead poisoning due to its manufactured toys, the company will face serious charges of product liability and if proven negligent be demanded millions of punitive and compensatory damages from. Knowingly withholding product information about its hazardous elements is a grave offense. It sounds so wrong! A competent Los Angeles law firm suits this kind of million-dollar lawsuits; it can best assist average victims win against rich and powerful corporations.

Fisher-Price toys are so adorable yet its harmful effects are rather appalling.