EL SEGUNDO, California: Safety troubles continue to plague toy-making titan Mattel, which has been forced to issue its third product recall in five weeks.

The latest recall adds Barbie doll accessories and a Fisher Price train to the growing list of Chinese-made toys that might contain excess levels of lead in paint.

The total number of Mattel products recalled due to paint and small parts hazards since August 1 has now reached 21 million globally, although no illnesses have been reported.

Says ceo Robert Eckert: "As a result of our ongoing investigation, we discovered additional affected products. Consequently, several subcontractors are no longer manufacturing Mattel toys.

"We apologize again to everyone affected and promise that we will continue to focus on ensuring the safety and quality of our toys."

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission, which has regulatory oversight of the recalls, said Mattel acted after conducting a "top-to-bottom inventory of children's products".

Nonetheless, questions have been raised over over the speed at which the toymaker took action when problems became apparent.

The company has reportedly been fined more than $2 million (€1.4m; £995k) since 2001 for failing to report recalls to the agency in a "timely manner".

Chinese products have made up 60% of recalls in the US so far this year - a reflection of the fact that 80% of all US toys are manufactured in China.

Officials there have conceded that some manufacturers have cut corners and used sub-standard materials. But they also accuse the US of exaggerating the problem.

Data sourced from Bloomberg.com; additional content by WARC staff