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Toy maker keeps tainted dolls on shelf

January 23, 2008|From the Associated Press

A popular toy maker is refusing to pull a lead-tainted doll from store shelves across Illinois, challenging a state law governing lead content in toys, the state says.

Ty Inc., best known for its Beanie Babies, says federal law takes precedence over the Illinois statute.

The state is considering suing Ty, based in suburban Chicago, to force it to comply.

Illinois became aware of the lead in Jammin' Jenna dolls -- not part of the Beanie Babies line -- after the Chicago Tribune tested the dolls' shoes and found that they exceeded state lead limits.

Cara Smith, an aide to Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan, said that after the Tribune published its results on the doll, the company told state authorities that it would stop distributing the doll in Illinois and remove it from shelves. But Smith said she spotted the doll in stores a few days later.

When the state sought an explanation, Smith said, the company switched positions, saying it would not recall dolls already on shelves.

Ty's chief operating officer, Scott Wehrs, declined to comment.

Ty representatives have said the company is not violating state law because federal rules supersede it. Although the state bans vinyl toys that contain more than 600 parts per million of lead, federal law has a higher limit.

The state attorney general's office and the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission have said the Illinois ban is valid because states can adopt their own rules where no federal law exists.

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