Statement on Lead-Tainted Jewelry

April 28- Findings released today by the California
Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) of high levels of lead in jewelry
are disappointing but not surprising, as these results mirror the findings of
the Center for Environmental Health (CEH). Since last fall, CEH has found dozens
of pieces of high-lead jewelry on store shelves, including jewelry recently
purchased from six leading retailers: Claire's, Cost Plus,
Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, DD's Discount, and The Buckle.
DTSC found leaded jewelry at Long's
Drugstore, a retailer that CEH has notified for four other leaded jewelry
violations in the past six months.

"Our testing and the testing by DTSC demonstrates that
there is still too much leaded jewelry on store shelves," said CEH Executive
Director Michael Green. "It does appear that many companies are doing better at
keeping jewelry safe, but after all of the attention on this issue, there is no
reason that any jewelry should contain illegal levels of
lead."

Between late November and early March, CEH purchased
jewelry from more than 20 retailers, finding high levels of lead from items
purchased from six stores. One item, Valentines day earrings from Claire's, had
a red surface coating that contained lead at a level that was more than 70 times
the federal limit for lead in children's products.

CEH initiated its jewelry testing in 2003, and filed its
first legal action on lead in jewelry in early 2004. In January 2006, CEH and
the California Attorney General announced a settlement with 71 companies who
agreed to strict standards for eliminating lead-tainted jewelry. The California law on lead in
jewelry is largely based on that settlement, which now includes more than 140
companies (a list of retailers, suppliers and brand names at http://cli.gs/teWEaP).

 

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(Valentine's Day earrings from Claire's)

For more
information, see www.ceh.org