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Lead in Toy KillsBoy in MinnesotaThousands of Reebok Bracelets Made of Metal

Posted Sep 13 2008 7:28pm

Bracelet My grandfather was a small-time toy wholesaler in Chicago. His warehouse, which was comprised of two dumpy street-level stores, was filled with boxes of the crappiest Japanese-made novelties that anyone could find in the 1970s and 1980s.

There were thousands of dust-covered boxes – piled in haphazard rows so precarious I was sure they would fall on me at any moment – marked with the names of companies now long gone. Most of these toys were some of the earliest plastic toys that would break or disintegrate in your hands.

Some of the really old toys were made of soft metal that would seemingly rub off on my hands or could be used to write on paper. Sometimes I wondered if those metal playthings were made of lead.

There is no mystery whether there is lead in a Reebok bracelet, which killed a 4-year-old boy after he swallowed it in Minneapolis last month, reports The St. Pioneer Press via Kansas City Star. That’s because the Chinese-made charms – given away with certain Reebok shoes – is 99 percent lead.

In case you didn’t know, lead can cause severe developmental disabilities in young children. It isn’t so great for adults, either.

You could call this incident an aberration, but you would be wrong. Lead was found in millions of vending machine toys and even candy from Mexico. And of course, it is still in old paint.

Why it has taken the federal government a month to actually issue the recall is another societal crime that deserves further exploration considering there are at least 300,000 Reebok bracelets in distribution.

Glowindark The Consumer Product Safety Commission also is recalling 580,000 necklace and ring sets imported by Dollar Tree Distribution because of high lead content. Look out for packages that say “Mood Necklace,” “Mood Ring,” “Glow in the Dark Necklace,” “Glow in the Dark Ring,” “UV Necklace” or “UV Ring.”

When my grandfather was selling toys, I’m sure he had no understanding of lead dangers. Today’s merchants have no excuse.

Photo_charm_bracelet Additional:
25,000 Beaded Photo Charm Bracelets, sold via the Oriental Trading Company, were recalled for high lead content.

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