Kids’ products have high levels of lead at Target, Wal Mart

October 14, 2010

An Oakland-based environmental group is claiming that new lab tests show high levels of lead in children’s products being sold at Target and Wal Mart stores. [California Watch]

The Center for Environmental Health found that kids’ chairs and bean bags, foam jewelry beads and toy boxing gloves all exceeded the federal limits for lead – for one of the chairs, lead levels were 70 times the limit.

The California attorney general’s office, which funds a grant for the center to test children’s products for safety compliance, asked both retailers to remove the products from their shelves.

While Target agreed to stop selling the two products, both kids’ chairs it offered exclusively online, Walmart is pulling items online and and in its California stores only. In an interview with the Associated Press, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. spokeswoman Melissa Hill said the company was not issuing a recall on the items and would “investigate this matter further.”

In choosing not to do so, Walmart underscores widespread industry frustration over how much lead is safe versus how much is legal, what qualifies as a children’s product and the different state, federal and international standards placed on their merchandise.

Earlier this month, California Watch reported that Rainbow Apparel, a national retailer with 35 stores in the state, had repeatedly sold jewelry with illegal levels of lead.

California cannot mandate that Walmart remove the items nationwide, but retailers often do when notified of high levels of lead in their products.

The Center for Environmental Health sent yesterday’s findings to the U.S. Product Safety Commission and hopes the federal agency will have Walmart remove the items nationwide. Scott Wolfson, a commission spokesman, said the agency “is looking into the matter.”

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Don’t blame walmart. They’re only giving the people what they want. More more more, cheaper cheaper cheaper.

Product Liability is no big deal to a Walmart who self insures and has no problem with lengthly litigation cases. The bigger story is that Walmart doesn’t CARE that their products could bring harm to children nationwide, otherwise those items in question would be promptly removed from stores everywhere.