Hannah Montana Gear Has Excessive Lead, Group Says (Los Angeles Times)

Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times

A sampling of Chinese-made vinyl backpacks and other
children's products featuring Walt Disney Co.'s Hannah Montana character were
found to contain high levels of lead, an environmental activist group said
Tuesday.

A study by the Oakland-based Center for Environmental Health found lead levels
exceeding federal, state and industry standards. The nonprofit group has filed
a notice of violation under Proposition 65, a state law dealing with toxic
substances, to try to compel Disney to lower or eliminate lead content in the
products.

The center's action is the latest alarm about lead-tainted products, which were
recalled by the millions last year.

Burbank-based Disney said "product safety is of primary importance."

"We require all licensed producers of products using Disney characters to
test their products and to comply with all applicable product safety laws and
standards," the company said in a statement Tuesday.

In February, researchers analyzed 28 Hannah Montana products and verified the results
in a commercial lab, according to the study.

The paint on five products, including a Girls Rock backpack from Walmart.com
and a Secret Star wallet from Toys R Us, had lead content of 1,800 parts per
million to 8,300 parts per million. The federal standard for lead in paint is
600 ppm.

Four products tested above the 40 ppm level recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Three tested
above 200 ppm, a limit agreed to by several lunchbox producers.

Toys R Us Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. recently promised to follow more
stringent lead standards with increased independent testing from manufacturers.
Disney said in September that it expected to spend up to $2 million to increase
the number of people overseeing product safety, randomly testing products and
requiring licensees to provide copies of test results.

On Tuesday, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said Reebok International
agreed to pay a record $1 million fine after recalling 300,000 charm bracelets
that allegedly had toxic lead levels. Reebok denied violating the law.

The bracelets, gifts with the purchase of certain children's shoes, were
recalled in March 2006 after a 4-year-old boy swallowed the heart-shaped
pendant and died.

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