7 Toys and Other Products Exceed Lead Limits, California Says

Melissa Rohlin, Los Angeles Times, November 18, 2009

California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown issued a safety warning Tuesday,
alleging that seven toys and other products tested by the Center for
Environmental Health this month contained illegal levels of lead.

According
to the center's report, Disney Fairies Silvermist's Water Lily Necklace
sold by Walgreens contains 22,000 parts per million of lead, more than
the limit of 300 per million allowed under federal law.

Disney's
vice president of corporate communications, Gary Foster, said the
product, which is licensed by Disney and manufactured by Playmates
Toys, was tested by Walgreens and Playmates Toys and complies with "all
applicable state and federal consumer safety regulations."

He added that the discrepancy between the two tests is being investigated.

The
Barbie Bike Flair Accessory Kit sold by Tuesday Morning, which is
licensed by Mattel and manufactured by Bell Sports, contains 6,196
parts per million of lead, the report said.

Thom Parks, vice
president of corporate affairs at Bell Sports, said he's not sure when
the product was made, "but we do know that it passed federal standards
at the time."

"I'm not sure how the product got on the shelves at Tuesday Morning," he added.

Mattel's
vice president of corporate affairs, Lisa Marie Bongiovanni, said that
while the company "doesn't come into contact with the product, control
the product, or manufacture the product," it requires that licensees
comply with all applicable standards and provide test reports and data.

Even though those products contain relatively small amounts of
lead, Center for Environmental Health spokesman Charles Margulis said
that they are dangerous because lead poisoning is cumulative.

"That
much lead might not hurt a kid, but kids don't live in isolation. If
everyone gets a pass, kids end up lead-poisoned," Margulis said.

The
center is offering free toy testing over the holidays in its Oakland
office. He warns parents to avoid cheap metal jewelry, vinyl and
brightly painted products from overseas and other items that tend to
contain high levels of lead.

In 2008 the attorney general's
office reached a $1.8-million settlement with several toy companies
that were found to have excessive lead in their products, according to
a statement it released Tuesday. The settlement allocated $550,000 to a
fund to test toys for lead. The Center for Environmental Health used a
grant from the fund to test the toys.

Other products that the
center says have abnormal amounts of lead are the Kids Poncho and MSY
Faded Glory Rebecca Shoes, both sold by Wal-Mart; Reversible Croco Belt
sold by Target; Dora the Explorer Activity Tote sold by TJ Maxx; and
Paula Fuschia Open-Toed Shoes sold by Sears.

The attorney
general's office sent a letter last week to the affected retailers
warning them that the products contain illegal levels of lead and
asking that they pull them from shelves immediately.

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