n Chinese-made toys tainted with lead force third recall in just over a month.

BY ANNE D'INNOCENZIO

The Associated Press

NEW YORK - The third major recall by Mattel Inc. of lead-tainted Chinese toys has left the world's largest toymaker fighting to maintain its reputation as company shares fell sharply Wednesday.

Mattel announced late Tuesday it was recalling 800,000 toys, including 675,000 accessories for one of the company's biggest sellers, the Barbie doll. Also part of the recall, the third in just over a month, were 90,000 units of Mattel's GeoTrax locomotive line and about 8,900 Big Big World 6-in-1 Bongo Band toys, both from the company's Fisher-Price brand. The Big Big World products were sold nationwide from July through August of this year, while the GeoTrax toys were sold from September 2006 through August of this year.

Millions of toys involved

Mattel's last recall, announced on Aug. 14, covered about 19 million toys worldwide. They included Chinese-made toys that either had excessive amounts of lead paint or had small magnets that could easily be swallowed by children.

On Aug. 1, Mattel's Fisher-Price division said it was recalling 1.5 million preschool toys featuring characters such as Dora the Explorer, Big Bird and Elmo because of lead paint. That action included 967,000 toys sold in the United States between May and August.

A Chinese quality official said Wednesday that the country is investigating the latest recall.

Wang Xin, an official with the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine, said the agency, which oversees all products made in China, is trying to get details on when the toys were made and the manufacturers involved.

Mattel vowed as recently as last month it would tighten its controls in China. About 65 percent of the company's toys are made in there, and about 50 percent of Mattel's production is in China at company-owned plants.

The recalled toys in the Barbie accessory line included a Barbie Dream Puppy House, which had lead paint on the dog; a Barbie Dream Kitty Condo playset, which had lead paint on the cat; and a Barbie table and chairs kitchen playset, which had lead paint on the dog and dinner plates.

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