Brown to retailers: Products contain 'illegal' amounts of lead

By Chris Rizo | Nov 17, 2009

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-California Attorney General Jerry Brown has warned a group of national retailers that some of the children's products on their store shelves were found to contain "illegal levels of lead," his office said Tuesday.

The Democratic attorney general told the six retailers to remove the products from their stores immediately. Brown reported the findings to the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission, which could order a recall of the products.

"Private testing uncovered a number of products designed for children that contain dangerous and illegal levels of lead," Brown said. "These products must be removed from store shelves at once to protect our kids from toxic lead exposure."

Retailers receiving the warning last week were: Wal-Mart, Target, TJ Maxx, Sears, Walgreens and Tuesday Morning.

California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 says any children's product that contains more than 300 parts per million of lead is considered a hazardous substance and therefore illegal to sell in the state.

Lead, if ingested, can cause brain damage or even death, experts say.

In a statement, the attorney general's office said Brown has also requested that the companies provide his office with results from any of their own tests conducted on the products and report how they plan to ensure that other items do not contain toxic amounts of lead.

The products with "illegal" amounts of lead in them were:
- Kids Poncho sold by Walmart, 677 ppm;
- MSY Faded Glory Rebecca Shoes sold by Walmart, 1331 ppm;
- Reversible Croco Belt sold by Target, 4270 ppm;
- Dora the Explorer Activity Tote sold by TJ Maxx, 2348 ppm;
- Paula Fuschia Open-Toed Shoes sold by Sears, 3957 ppm;
- Disney Fairies Silvermist's Water Lily Necklace sold by Walgreens, 22000 ppm; and the
- Barbie Bike Flair Accessory Kit sold by Tuesday Morning, 6196 ppm.

Earlier this month, three national retail giants agreed to pay a combined total of $454,000 in penalties to California to settle claims that they sold toys with excessive amounts of led in them.

Target Corp., Toys R Us Inc. and Kmart were sued by Brown's office and the Los Angeles city attorney's office in November.

The lawsuit claimed that the toys violated federal safety laws as well as California's Proposition 65, which requires companies and businesses to provide "clear and reasonable" warnings before exposing people to known carcinogens or reproductive toxins.

In December, Brown and Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo agreed to a $1.8 million settlement with nine toy manufacturers, including Mattel Inc. and its subsidiary Fisher Price.

In that settlement, the companies agreed to stop selling any toys they know contain lead. The companies will also pay $550,000 for lead testing and improved notification to customers.

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