- Walmart and Target are facing a lawsuit from the New York attorney general over a line of toys that allegedly contained levels of lead above the legal limit.
- AG Barbara Underwood’s office tweeted that the retailers, along with importer LaRose Industries, were “selling lead-contaminated children’s toys.”
- Underwood’s suit claims that the line of Cra-Z-Jewelz jewellery-making kits were contaminated with lead levels 10 times higher than the federal limit.
New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood’s office tweeted out the announcement, alleging that Walmart and Target stocked stores with “lead-contaminated children’s toys” sold by international importer LaRose Industries.
According to the tweet and subsequent statement, the Cra-Z-Jewelz jewellery-making kits imported by LaRose between 2015 and 2016 were the subject of an investigation by the New York attorney general’s office. The Consumer Protection Safety Committee’s website holds that paint must not contain a concentration of lead that exceeds 90 parts per million “by weight of the total nonvolatile content of the paint.”
In subsequent tweets, Underwood’s office called the situation “a parent’s worst nightmare” and announced its intention of pursuing civil penalties against the companies for “failing to protect New York’s kids.” The office also stated its intent to obtain a court order to “ensure that dangerous toys stay off store shelves for good.”
A Target spokesperson told Business Insider in a statement that it had pulled the products from stores in 2016.
“As soon as the New York Attorney General let us know about the allegations with this product after its testing back in 2016, we immediately and voluntarily pulled the bracelet kit from our stores,” the spokesperson said. “We’re committed to providing high quality and safe products to our guests and we require all of our vendors to follow safety laws and CPSC guidelines for the products they sell at Target.”
Walmart also said it had removed the products from stores.
“We take our customers’ safety seriously and require our suppliers to meet all safety standards. As soon as LaRose Industries made us aware of the product recall nearly three years ago, we removed the items from our shelves and online and haven’t sold them since,” a spokesperson for the retailer said in a statement to Business Insider. “We’ve discussed this matter with the New York Attorney General’s office and will address the allegations and demands with the court.”
According to Consumerist’s 2010 report, this isn’t the first time these two retailers have become involved in a lead-related controversy.
Eight years ago, Target pulled high chairs that contained lead levels as high as 70 times the legal limit, while Walmart stocked boxing gloves, children’s jewellery, and bean bag chairs with lead levels between three and 45 times the legal limit.
Target removed the products from its store, while Walmart reportedly pulled the items in California.
“No parent should have to worry that their child’s toy may be toxic. As we allege, these companies imported and sold toys with dangerous levels of toxic lead – jeopardizing the health of New York’s children and breaking the law,” Underwood said in a statement. “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.”
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