Lead-Tainted Jewelry Sold by Burlington Coat Factory and Styles for Less Stores

Oakland, CA-Independent testing commissioned by the Center for Environmental Health has found dozens of pieces of lead-tainted jewelry sold this spring by Burlington Coat Factory stores and Styles for Less stores. The California Attorney General has sent legal notices of violation of California’s jewelry law to Burlington for 23 lead-tainted items and to Styles for Less for 7 items. Earlier this year CEH found 13 other items in violation of the law at Styles for Less stores.

“Our jewelry testing is finding far fewer problems than before the law was enacted, but the pattern at these stores shows that some retailers still need to be doing more to insure their jewelry is safe,” said CEH Research Director Caroline Cox. “There is no excuse for unnecessary lead risks in jewelry.”

The jewelry violations from the two stores were found in testing of items purchased since April. One Burlington item contained a clasp that was 36% lead; the other 22 items had components testing between 52% and 88% lead. The Burlington jewelry was purchased at Bay Area, Central Valley and Los Angeles area stores. The 7 items of Styles jewelry, purchased at Bay Area stores, included components that tested at between 56% and 93% lead.

Both Burlington and Styles have previously been notified for lead-tainted jewelry violations. In 2010, CEH found 6 items in violation of the lead jewelry law at Burlington stores; between 2009-10, CEH found 10 items in violation of the law at Styles for Less.

Last year, CEH repeatedly found high levels of lead in jewelry from Rainbow stores. In testing of much of the store’s jewelry this year, CEH has not found any jewelry with high levels of lead.

CEH conducts lead testing on jewelry it purchases from retailers across California. The nonprofit is investigating jewelry for compliance with a legal agreement and with California law using a grant from the Proposition 65 Jewelry Testing Fund. The fund was established through litigation brought by the California Attorney General, CEH, and others.

CEH has previously uncovered lead threats to children from toys, vinyl baby bibs, children’s jewelry and other products. CEH has a fifteen-year track record of protecting children from hidden health hazards in consumer products and protecting communities from health hazards related to toxic pollution. CEH also works with major industries and leaders in green business to promote healthier alternatives to toxic products and practices.

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