Dollar Tree settles lead lawsuit with Sorrell

Nick Rees Mar. 8, 2010, 3:00pm

MONTPELIER, Vt. (Legal Newsline) - A national retail chain will pay the state of Vermont $100,000 to settle claims of high amounts of lead and cadmium in products it offered for sale, Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell has announced.

Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., based in Chesapeake, Va., also agreed to cease selling jewelry and will comply with legal limits on the amount of lead and cadmium in consumer products.

Cadmium and lead are known to be toxic substances that can cause harm to humans, especially children, if ingested.

The case stems from public reports in late 2007 that certain Dollar Tree jewelry items contained high levels of cadmium and lead. Tests of four products - a necklace, a digital watch, earrings and a pony tail holder - from a Vermont Dollar Store were then arranged by Sorrell's office.

The tests on those products returned very high concentrations of one or both of the alleged toxic metals, Sorrell says.

There are six Dollar Tree stores in Vermont, which are now prohibited under the settlement from selling in or into the state of Vermont any products commonly understood to be jewelry. The company is also required to comply with all current and future state and federal limits on lead and cadmium.

Additionally, Dollar Tree is required to pay the state $100,000 in civil penalties and costs. Of that amount, $50,000 will go to children's health programs through the Vermont Department of Health.

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