NEW YORK - As lead paint litigation spreads across the country, a pair of state attorneys general say lead exposure is, too.
After a safety alert was issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office conducted its own tests on certain baby bibs sold by Wal-Mart. Cuomo says he found high levels of lead in certain bibs purchased at Wal-Marts in New York.
Meanwhile, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan joined in with an investigation of stores in her state.
The bibs were sold since 2004 under the brand name and are made with Polyvinyl Chloride, Cuomo said, and have colorful designs. Some are graced with sesame Street characters.
The highest levels of lead were found in bibs which have a tag sewn into their lining that contains their UPC numbers: 1468102732; 1468152705; and 1468151077.
Wal-Mart agreed to three actions as a result of Madigan's and Cuomo's investigations.
-Stop the sale of the identified bibs from all Wal‑Mart stores as of March 29, 2007, and refrain indefinitely from selling the identified bibs in the states of New York, Illinois and California;
-Proceed as soon as possible with a plan to refrain from selling baby bibs which are made with PVCs; and
-Support the development of a voluntary industry standard, in cooperation with the CPSC, the New York and Illinois Attorney General Offices and others, to eliminate PVCs from all products intended for use by children.
The states of Rhode Island and Ohio have lawsuits against the paint industry, as do several municipalities. South Carolina-based plaintiffs firm Motley Rice is credited with the idea of suing paint companies under a public nuisance claim instead of a products liability claim to work around an expired statute of limitations.
Lead has been known to cause neurological damage, delayed mental and physical development, attention and learning deficiencies and hearing problems, especially in children.