Children are particularly vulnerable to the dangerous effects of lead. Because the Cra-Z-Jewelz children’s jewelry-making kits sold by Walmart and Target tested positive for incredibly high lead levels, the stores claimed they pulled them off their shelves and removed them from their websites.
But the New York attorney general now is suing the big box stores — and the toy importer LaRose Industries. Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood said that thousands of the kits were sold, and contained lead levels at up to 10 times the federal limit.
Pieces of the kit had lead levels of 120 to 980 parts per million, reported NBC News. The federal limit is 100 parts per million. The attorney general’s office investigated this particular children’s kit twice.
“No parent should have to worry that their child’s toy may be toxic,” Underwood said. “Our lawsuit seeks to hold these companies accountable for the failures that allowed lead-contaminated toys on store shelves, while forcing them to take responsibility for the safety of the products they sell.”
After the initial finding of high lead levels in the wristbands contained in the kit, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, LaRose, and the attorney general’s office each conducted additional testing. This testing also confirmed that there was lead contamination, the attorney general’s office said in a statement.
The findings of our investigation have already led to a nationwide recall of the toys—“Cra-Z-Jewelz” jewelry making kits. Now, we are going to hold these companies accountable for failing to protect New York’s kids. pic.twitter.com/UjNP3Ue2Ei
— NY AG Underwood (@NewYorkStateAG) December 13, 2018
Lead is dangerous to almost every system of the body. Symptoms of lead poisoning are difficult to detect, too, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This particular kit already was recalled in 2016, but the attorney general alleges that it can still be found on store shelves.
The attorney general’s lawsuit asks Target and Walmart to randomly test the toys it sells to make sure imported toys have valid certificates of compliance. So far, the two stores have refused requests to take these “affirmative measures,” Underwood said.
After the suit was filed, Target released a statement that it “immediately and voluntarily” pulled the jewelry kits from its shelves in 2016. Walmart also said it had removed the toy from its stores and website in 2015.
The lawsuit is seeking penalties against Walmart, Target, and the distributor that could range from $70 to $6,000 for every single jewelry-making kit the companies tried to sell in New York.
Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove told Fox News that the company has spoken about the issue with Underwood’s office — and will address the attorney general’s allegations in court. Target spokeswoman Danielle Schumann referred additional questions to LaRose. LaRose refused to comment.