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Nine Companies Penalized for Excessive Lead Paint on Children’s Toys


Nine children’s product manufacturers, importers, and sellers have agreed to pay a combined total of more than $500,000 in civil penalties for violating the federal lead paint ban, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

These nine firms’ products were recalled in 2007 and 2008, and include items such as toys, children’s metal jewelry, children’s pens, metal water bottles, pencil pouches, sunglasses, and children’s Halloween pails and baskets.

Tests revealed that paint or surface coatings on these children’s products contained lead in excess 0.06 percent, by weight. One firm’s testing revealed that its products contained surface coatings with nearly 60 percent lead. In 1978, a federal ban was put in place that prohibited toys and other children’s articles from having more than 0.06 percent lead (by weight) in paints or surface coatings.

Lead can be toxic if ingested by young children. Exposure to lead can cause brain and nervous system damage, behavioral and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems, headaches, mental and physical retardation, and behavioral and other health problems in children and unborn children. Even at very low levels, lead is harmful to children’s health. But at elevated blood lead levels, children experience neurological problems, anemia, lower IQ scores, and shortened attention spans.

CPSC has ordered the following firms to pay civil penalties to the federal government:

  • Cardinal Distributing Co. Inc., of Baltimore, Maryland: $100,000
  • Dollar General Corp., of Goodlettsville, Tennessee: $100,000
  • Family Dollar Stores Inc., of Matthews, North Carolina: $75,000
  • Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: $50,000
  • First Learning Company Ltd., of Hong Kong: $50,000
  • Michaels Stores Inc., of Irving, Texas: $45,000
  • A&A Global Industries Inc., of Cockeysville, Maryland: $40,000
  • Raymond Geddes & Co, of Baltimore, Maryland: $40,000
  • Downeast Concepts Inc., of Yarmouth, Maine: $30,000

In agreeing to settle the matters, the firms deny CPSC’s allegations that they knowingly violated the law.

For photos of all affected projects please visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml09/09264.html

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