Warning Issued After Tests Show Children’s Jewelry Sold In Vermont With High Lead Levels

For Immediate Release: December 4, 2007

Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON – The Vermont Department of Health issued a warning today after lab results showed that 12 of 15 children’s jewelry and other small metal consumer products tested for lead far exceeded the maximum level recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission staff. The products are manufactured by Ganz, Inc. and sold in Vermont.

Health Commissioner Sharon Moffatt, RN, MSN, and Attorney General William Sorrell strongly advise parents to keep all metal objects, and particularly items like jewelry, keys and ornaments, away from children under the age of 6 to prevent lead poisoining.

A small child mouthing or swallowing an item containing the amount of lead found in some of the Ganz products could increase the child’s blood lead level and cause a range of permanent health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities to severe lead poisoning requiring medical intervention, particularly in children under the age of 6, according to the Health Department.

Many of the tested items are marketed during the holiday season, including a “’Tis the Season” pin, shimmering snowflake earrings, and a “Legend of the Christmas Angel” bracelet.

Laboratory tests showed the metal charms and jewelry contained as much as 435,746 parts per million (ppm) of lead. This is more than 700 times the maximum acceptable level of lead as recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission staff of 600 ppm for lead in children’s jewelry.

The tests were ordered by the Office of the Attorney General following the discovery and removal of a highly lead-contaminated charm at a shop in Burlington in July 2007. The Office of the Attorney General conducted a wider search of charms and jewelry manufactured by Ganz that were retailed in Vermont and collected a total of 15 items for testing.

The Office of the Attorney General is working to have all metal consumer products from Ganz removed from Vermont stores unless there is adequate proof that they are safe. Ganz is a privately-held company with headquarters in Toronto, U.S. offices in Atlanta and Los Angeles, and overseas offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai, according to the corporation’s website.

In February 2007, Attorney General Sorrell and Commissioner Sharon Moffatt released the results of a year-long study of lead poisoning in Vermont, including a 51-page report on lead in consumer products and other exposures. The report describes a wide range of consumer products found to contain lead, including jewelry, toys and other children’s products.

As a result of the report, a bill regulating lead in consumer products (S.152) has been introduced in the Vermont Legislature, where it is currently pending in committee.

For more information on how to prevent lead poisoning, and a list of the items tested and photographs of the products, go to: healthvermont.gov/enviro/lead/lead.aspx.

For a full list of recalled products, go to www.cpsc.gov.

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