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7 toys exceed lead limits, state says

November 18, 2009|Melissa Rohlin

California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown issued a safety warning Tuesday, alleging that seven toys and other products tested by the Center for Environmental Health this month contained illegal levels of lead.

According to the center's report, Disney Fairies Silvermist's Water Lily Necklace sold by Walgreens contains 22,000 parts per million of lead, more than the limit of 300 per million allowed under federal law.

Disney's vice president of corporate communications, Gary Foster, said the product, which is licensed by Disney and manufactured by Playmates Toys, was tested by Walgreens and Playmates Toys and complies with "all applicable state and federal consumer safety regulations."

He added that the discrepancy between the two tests is being investigated.

The Barbie Bike Flair Accessory Kit sold by Tuesday Morning, which is licensed by Mattel and manufactured by Bell Sports, contains 6,196 parts per million of lead, the report said.

Thom Parks, vice president of corporate affairs at Bell Sports, said he's not sure when the product was made, "but we do know that it passed federal standards at the time."

"I'm not sure how the product got on the shelves at Tuesday Morning," he added.

Mattel's vice president of corporate affairs, Lisa Marie Bongiovanni, said that while the company "doesn't come into contact with the product, control the product, or manufacture the product," it requires that licensees comply with all applicable standards and provide test reports and data.

Even though those products contain relatively small amounts of lead, Center for Environmental Health spokesman Charles Margulis said that they are dangerous because lead poisoning is cumulative.

"That much lead might not hurt a kid, but kids don't live in isolation. If everyone gets a pass, kids end up lead-poisoned," Margulis said.

The center is offering free toy testing over the holidays in its Oakland office. He warns parents to avoid cheap metal jewelry, vinyl and brightly painted products from overseas and other items that tend to contain high levels of lead.

In 2008 the attorney general's office reached a $1.8-million settlement with several toy companies that were found to have excessive lead in their products, according to a statement it released Tuesday. The settlement allocated $550,000 to a fund to test toys for lead. The Center for Environmental Health used a grant from the fund to test the toys.

Other products that the center says have abnormal amounts of lead are the Kids Poncho and MSY Faded Glory Rebecca Shoes, both sold by Wal-Mart; Reversible Croco Belt sold by Target; Dora the Explorer Activity Tote sold by TJ Maxx; and Paula Fuschia Open-Toed Shoes sold by Sears.

The attorney general's office sent a letter last week to the affected retailers warning them that the products contain illegal levels of lead and asking that they pull them from shelves immediately.

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melissa.rohlin@latimes.com

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