Retailers Target, Walmart and a toy importer have been alleged of distributing children’s jewelry-making kits which reportedly contain very high levels of lead which can be dangerous for children. The New York attorney general is also suing the three entities over the allegations.
Pieces containing lead at up to 10 times the federal limit have been allegedly found in thousands of “Cra-Z-Jewelz” jewelry-making kits which were imported by a firm called LaRose Industries and were sold in Target and Walmart stores in New York state, said Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood.
According to a statement issued by the attorney general’s office, two separate investigations conducted in 2015 and 2016 had found that some of the parts of the jewellery making kit had lead levels of 120 to 980 parts per million. 100 ppm is the federal limit for presence of lead in children’s products.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost every organ and system in a human body can be hazardous if exposed to lead and it is often difficult to spot symptoms of lead poisoning. The dangerous effects of lead can be extremely fatal for children.
“No parent should have to worry that their child’s toy may be toxic,” Underwood said.
The jewelry-making sets had to be recalled in 2016 because of the probe and the findings by the attorney general. But the state has decided to file a case because it wants it to be a signal for other companies to dissuade from importing and distributing lead-laden toys on shelves in the future and to create accountability among companies doing so and those dealing in products containing lead.
According to the suit, the Target and Walmart have been asked to conduct random tests on toys and ensure that valid certificates of compliance exist for all imported toys. Target and Walmart have so far refused requests to take these “affirmative measures”, said the attorney general’s office.
It “immediately and voluntarily” pulled the jewelry kits from shelves as soon as “the New York Attorney General let us know about the allegations with this product after its testing back in 2016,” Target said in a statement.
As soon as “LaRose Industries made us aware of the product recall nearly three years ago”, it had pulled the toys from its stores and website, Walmart said in a statement.
Both the companies said that they want and demand that their vendors should follow safety regulations and standards and that their aim is to ensure the safety of their customers.
There were no comments available from LaRose which uses the brand name Cra-Z-Art for the toys that it sells.
The suit also seeks to impose fines which would be in the range of $70 to $6,000 for every jewelry-making kit that the company tried to sell in New York.
(Adapted from NBCNews.com)