The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (“USCPSC”) recently announced a recall of about 75,000 American Girl Crafts Pearly Beads & Ribbon Bracelets kits. These kits were manufactured in China, distributed by EKSuccess Brands, and sold at Michaels Stores and other retailers nationwide from September 2009 through June 2011 for about $8. The kits were recalled because the surface coatings of beads in the kits were found to contain excessive levels of lead.
The recall involves the Pearly Beads & Ribbon Bracelets kit distributed under the American Girl Crafts name with a SKU number of 30-585331. The SKU number is located on the back of the package in the lower right corner. The kit contains 56 pieces. The beads in the jewelry kit are pink, blue, orange and white. Some pink beads have darker pink butterflies imprinted on them. The ribbons in the kit are orange, red, blue and purple.
Any contact with lead can increase the overall amount of lead in the blood and cause lead poisoning. Lead poisoning occurs when lead builds up in the body, often over a period of months or years. Even small amounts of lead can cause serious health problems. Children under the age of 6 are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely affect mental and physical development. At very high levels, lead poisoning can be fatal.
While treatment is available for lead poisoning, the best solution is to try and prevent it by eliminating your child’s contact with known sources of lead. Certainly, most parents trust that toys and activities marketed for use by children do not contain lead. But, over recent years, numerous manufacturers of children’s toys have been forced to recall their products because of dangerous lead levels. A quick search of the USCPSC website reveals that over 30 children’s products have been recalled over the past 3 years because of dangerous lead levels. These companies aggressively market to parents and children and profit immensely from toy sales while refusing to ensure the safety of their products. The quality control standards for U.S. based toy companies are evidently very lax. These companies are outsourcing the manufacturing of toys to the cheapest bidder without concern for the components and paint being used in their products.
It is ironic that we try to protect our children by having high standards for lead paint in homes, but we continue to tolerate the dangerous practices of the companies that are manufacturing the toys that we allow our children to play with.