L.A. Gear Inc. to Pay $70,000 Over Mercury Shoes: The company has agreed to pay the state of Minnesota to settle charges that it failed to warn consumers that some of its lighted athletic shoes contain mercury and that throwing them in the garbage is illegal. The footwear company has also set up a nationwide toll-free number that consumers can call to obtain free mailers in which to send the sneakers back to the company for recycling. "The mercury in just one pair of athletic shoes is equal to the amount of mercury in 2,200 'significantly contaminated' northern pike," state Atty. Gen. Hubert Humphrey III said. The My Li'l Lights and L.A. Lights shoes use half a gram of mercury each in an electric switch that activates a small light in the shoe.