Melissa and Doug toys recalled in Canada for excessive amounts of barium

Three different types of wooden toys made by Connecticut-based Melissa & Doug have been recalled in Canada after Canadian officials said they tested them and found excessive levels of barium in the paint.

Health Canada, the government organization that's responsible for consumer health and safety issues, recently announced the recalls of the following products:
  • Slice and Bake Cookie Set
  • Shape Sorting Cube
  • Pound-a-Peg
"Some forms of barium are safely used in medical and commercial applications, while other forms of barium can be toxic, causing adverse health effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps as well as more severe symptoms," Health Canada said in its announcement. "Children's toys coated with paint containing barium in excess of the allowable limit are strictly prohibited in Canada."
So what about in the U.S., where most Melissa & Doug toys are sold? While Health Canada and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission often announce recalls in concert with each other, nothing has been announced on the U.S. side.

"CPSC has a very productive partnership with Health Canada and we are currently reviewing the recall announcement they made regarding this product.," CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson told WalletPop.

Melissa & Doug CEO Doug Bernstein told WalletPop the issue was an isolated one limited to a few batches shipped to Canada. The toys are made in China.

"Every single batch that shipped to the U.S. and Europe passed every single test," Bernstein said.

He said his company informed the CPSC of the Canadian recall as a courtesy and shared the test results. Bernstein said only a handful of the 26,290 toys recalled in Canada had too much barium, but the company recalled all of them as a precaution.

Canadian officials urged parents to take those toys away from children and return them for a full refund.

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