TRAVERSE CITY — Gina Crick hadn't heard about the latest massive recall of Chinese-made toys, but she's leery of cheap, foreign toys that dominate local store racks.

"We buy these products because they're so inexpensive to make, but I think there is a price to it," said Crick, a Lake Ann mother of 5- and 8-year-old sons who shopped with her boys Tuesday in Garfield Township.

Crick tries to avoid buying toys and children's clothing made in China, not only because of safety concerns, but also because of labor and other issues there.

"A lot of products that come from China are made under bad conditions," Crick said.

Toy-making giant Mattel Inc. issued recalls Tuesday for about 9 million Chinese-made toys that contain magnets children can swallow or which could have lead paint. The recall includes 7.3 million play sets, including Polly Pocket dolls and Batman action figures, and 253,000 die-cast cars that contain lead paint.

It was the second recall involving lead paint for Mattel in two weeks, after its Fisher-Price division announced the worldwide recall of 1.5 million Chinese-made preschool toys featuring characters such as Dora the Explorer and Elmo. About 967,000 of those toys were sold in the United States b etween May and August.

Judy Kane, a Maryland resident visiting family on Old Mission Peninsula, said she's "absolutely" paying more attention to where toys are made following the spate of recent recalls.

"We probably wouldn't buy any Fisher-Price products for our grandchildren," she said.

The recalled toys were already off the shelves by Tuesday morning at the local Toys "R" Us store in Garfield Township, store manager Ray Dommer said. A bulletin board at the store's entrance that lists recalled items is overflowing with recent postings, and Dommer said the wave of product recalls has employees on alert.

"We make sure when we're open for business, we're clean," he said.

The store's also seen an uptick in consumer calls with questions about toy safety.

"It hasn't been heavy, but people that buy toys call to find out what's going on," Dommer said.

Local nonprofits that handle donated toys also are checking their inventories.

Ruth Blick, director of marketing and development for Goodwill Industries of Northern Michigan, said the agency relayed information about the Mattel recall to employees at its stores and routinely monitors consumer product recall lists.

"We're doing everything in our power to make sure that those items do not go out onto the sales floor so that people can buy them," she said.

Goodwill operates three retail stores in Traverse City, Cadillac and Gaylord. All donated items go through a sorting process, and employees will be on the lookout for any recalled toys, Blick said.

Mary Vollink, volunteer coordinator at the Salvation Army in Traverse City, said the recall will have minimal impact on the organization's thrift store. The bulk of donated toys comes during the annual Toys for Tots campaign, and that program could be affected, she said.

Mattel discovered the latest problem while they were investigating the earlier recall, said Nancy Nord, acting chair of the Consumer Products Safety Division.

Staff writer Christine Finger contributed to this report.

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