The California attorney general and Los Angeles city attorney are expected to file a lawsuit Monday against Mattel, Toys R Us and other U.S. companies over products that they say contain "unlawful quantities of lead."
The move follows major recalls of toys, lunchboxes, children's jewelry and other goods during the last year by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in Washington.
The lawsuit, to be filed under California's state law, would force manufacturers and retailers to adopt procedures for inspecting products to make sure they are safe, officials said.
Los Angeles-based toy giant Mattel, the lead defendant in the lawsuit, said it welcomed the attorney general's involvement and added that it would be helpful for the entire toy industry.
"Mattel expected this development and believes that the attorney general's assumption of this case will be beneficial to all parties," the company said in a statement.
Mattel said it has been in continuous communication with the California attorney general's office since the initiation of the recalls last summer and has cooperated fully.
A total of 20 U.S. companies are listed as defendants in the case, which would also require them to warn consumers that the items contained chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects.
California's Proposition 65, known as the Safe Drinking Water Enforcement Act, allows the state to collect civil penalties of as much as 2,500 dollars for each of the millions of contaminated items.
Officials said they want to use the lawsuit to force companies to adopt procedures for inspecting products, and agree to "conditions such as testing or putting independent monitors in foreign countries."