California stores are pulling children’s jewelry off the shelves after tests showed extremely high levels of lead in the products. The state’s Department of Toxic Substances Control ordered 11 retailers to remove over a dozen brands of jewelry after finding bracelets, rings, and necklaces with up to 600 times the legal lead limit.
The investigation follows a new law banning lead levels of over 600 parts per million in children’s jewelry that took effect on September 1. A similar law for adult jewelry takes effect March 1 of 2008. Jewelry is of particular concern because children often put items in their mouth.
Inspectors gathered 375 items from stores across California, and approximately one-third contained elevated levels of lead. Retailers selling the toxic items ranged from Dollar Trees to GapKids. The agency released a list of 15 products from 11 retailers in California. You can find the complete list in PDF form here. Listed items may be returned to the retailer for a full refund.
Infants and children under the age of seven can absorb up to three times the level of toxins from exposure to lead as adults. Prolonged and repeated exposure to lead has been shown to cause neurological problems, including decreased cognitive abilities, gastrointestinal problems, and organ problems.
[This post was written by Kelli Best-Oliver]