El Protector De La Gente, Jerry Brown:
Mostly lead, mostly:
OAKLAND – Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued a consumer alert warning of a “serious health hazard” after he demanded that retail stores Rainbow and 5-7-9 remove from their shelves jewelry with parts containing as much as 97% lead, a potentially fatal health hazard, especially for young children.
“This jewelry represents a serious health hazard,” Brown said, “and it is especially dangerous if a child gets a hold of it and puts it in his or her mouth. Some of these bangles are almost solid lead. The jewelry must be banished from retailers’ shelves once and for all.”
Some pieces of the lead-infested jewelry were labeled “KIDS” and one piece was marked “lead free” although its clasp contained more than 80% lead.
There is no safe level of lead exposure. In 2006, a four-year-old Minnesota boy died after he swallowed a pendant from jewelry that was more than 90% lead, and it became stuck in his intestinal tract.
In a letter to the stores’ corporate parent, Rainbow Apparel, Brown said, “Some of the jewelry had components that would be highly toxic, and potentially lethal, if ingested, and all of it contains sufficient lead to contribute to long-term health risks.”
California law bans the sale of jewelry that fails to comply with strict limits on the amount of lead it contains. The law was the result of a 2006 settlement of a lawsuit brought by the Attorney General and two environmental groups, Center of Environmental Health and As you Sow It.
In that settlement, Rainbow and other retailers agreed to stop selling jewelry containing more than traces of lead. But four times in a little more than a year, the Attorney General has sent notices of violation to Rainbow for breaking the law and the terms of the settlement by selling jewelry made of lead.
Using a fund created in the 2006 settlement, the Center for Environmental Health monitors the stores. In May, it purchased 16 items containing lead from Rainbow stores in Northern California. Fifteen of the pieces contained more than 50% lead. One was 97% lead, and one labeled “KIDS” and “lead free” had a clasp that contained 81% lead. It’s all inexpensive costume jewelry made in China.
Brown’s letter to Rainbow Apparel , after the jump