Children’s Charm Bracelets Found with High Levels of Lead

UPDATE: After learning of CEH’s findings of lead in Disney children’s jewelry sold in
stores today, Barnes & Noble announced it was immediately pulling the
products from its website and from store shelves nationwide. CEH Executive
Director Michael Green noted his appreciation for the retailer’s action,
stating, “We are glad the company is doing the right thing, by looking out for
children’s health first. We hope that parents hear about these hazardous
products and take them away from their children.”

 

Oakland,
CA – Charm bracelet sets and
individual bracelet charms intended for young children are contaminated with
high levels of lead, according to independent laboratory testing commissioned
by the Center for Environmental Health (CEH). The charms are made by High
IntenCity of Fair Lawn, NJ. Three Disney-licensed products, “Disney Fairies,”
“High School Musical,” and “Hannah Montana” charm bracelet sets sold at Barnes
& Noble stores were found to contain lead at levels up to eight times
higher than safety levels set by federal standards and California law. Four of High IntenCity’s “Charm
It!” charms purchased from a Bay Area toy store were found with high lead
levels, including one with more than 150 times the state standard.
CEH first exposed the problem of lead-tainted children’s
jewelry in 2004, and the nonprofit’s groundbreaking 2006 legal settlement with
the industry formed the basis of California’s
lead-safe children’s jewelry law, which went into force last fall. The
California Attorney General recently awarded a grant to the nonprofit to help
enforce compliance with the jewelry law.
“We are disappointed to see that the industry still has not
cleaned up the problem of lead in children’s jewelry,” said Michael Green,
Executive Director of CEH. “Lead in jewelry marketed to young children is a
health threat that cannot be tolerated. We expect the companies and regulators
to take strong, immediate action to protect children from these hazardous
products.”
Phone calls by CEH have confirmed that the Disney-licensed
products are sold in the children’s section of Barnes & Noble stores
nationwide. The “Fairies” charm set is labeled “for children five and under.”
According to the “Charm It!” website, the individual charms are sold at
department stores and boutique toy stores.
There is no federal standard for lead in metal jewelry,
other than in paint or outer surface coatings. Under California law, however, no part of
children’s metal jewelry can contain more than 600 parts per million (ppm) of
lead. A “Charm It!” “t-shirt” metal charm found by CEH contained a lead level that
is more than 150 times the state limit.
High lead levels were also found in the outer surface coating
of the bracelets in the Disney charm sets, in violation of both California’s comprehensive
jewelry law and the federal lead paint standards, which ban more than 600 ppm
of lead in paint and coatings on children’s products. CEH is calling for an
immediate recall of the Charm It! charms and Disney charm bracelet sets.
In 2005, CEH found high levels of lead in a coating on
pearls used on a Disney “Princess” bracelet, and demanded a CPSC recall. The
agency refused to act, and according to Disney, CPSC told the company that its
testing found no lead hazard. Yet months later, CPSC quietly recalled the
product, noting the recall was due to high lead levels.
“CPSC’s job is to protect American children, but under its
current leadership the agency has seemed more interested in protecting an industry
that puts children’s health at risk,” said Green. “We are taking action to
insure that children are protected, since it is clear that Americans cannot
rely on the political appointees of the current Administration.”
CEH initiated legal action yesterday, informing High
IntenCity that its products are in violation of California’s Proposition 65 law. The
nonprofit has also informed Disney and Barnes & Noble, and has requested an
immediate product recall.

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