Federal & State Agencies Probing High Lead Levels In Cra-Z-Art Jewelry Kits

Under federal law, the acceptable level of lead that can be present in a product is capped at 100 parts per million. A recent investigation by the New York Attorney General’s office found 10 times that level of lead in certain children’s jewelry toys sold by national retailers like Target, Walmart, and Amazon, and now federal regulators have opened a probe into the crafts. 

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office announced Friday that an investigation from his office found dangerously high levels of lead in several Cra-Z-Art jewelry making kits sold at Target, Kmart, Toys “R” Us, Amazon, and Walmart.

For two years, Schneiderman’s office has been pushing for retailers and manufacturers to make sure their products do not contain unsafe levels of toxic chemicals. As part of this larger probe, investigators purchased 10 Cra-Z-Art products from stores in the fall of 2015 and then again this past February.

One of the Cra-Z-Art products tested by the AG's office.

One of the Cra-Z-Art products tested by the AG’s office.

Tests revealed that some of the wristbands contained as much as 980 parts per million of lead, far greater than the 100 parts per million allowed under federal law.

Specifically, the Cra-z-Art jewelry-making kits found to contain wristbands with lead levels exceeding the federal children’s safety lead limit were:

• Shimmer N’ Sparkle Cra-Z-Art Cra-Z-Jewelz Gem Creations Ultimate Gem Machine
• Shimmer N’ Sparkle Cra-Z-Art Cra-Z-Jewelz Gem Creations Gem Charm and Slider Bracelets
• My Look Cra-Z-Art Cra-Z-Jewelz Gem Creations Ultimate Gem Machine

Exact lead levels and stores where the products were purchased can be found on the AG’s website. 

“Manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers all have responsibility to ensure that products intended for use by children are safe,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “My office’s discovery of high-lead products on store shelves in New York points to an alarming breach in the safety net that is supposed to protect our children from dangerous chemicals.”

In addition to revealing the high levels of lead found in the products, Schneiderman announced on Friday that he would open an investigation to determine how these products ever reached store shelves.

Schneiderman is seeking [PDF] information on companies’ internal procedures and practices for interdicting products containing toxic chemicals before they reach the market, as well as their adherence to state and federal laws governing the safety of children’s products.

While Schnedierman’s office does not have the authority to recall products, he urged [PDF] the Consumer Product Safety Commission to use its power to do so.

CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye told The New York Times in a statement that the agency had immediately opened an investigation into the Cra-Z-Art products after they were notified by the AG’s office of high lead levels.

“Just hours after receiving information about these jewelry-making kits, CPSC staff opened an investigation into the safety of these products,” Kaye said in a statement. “CPSC’s investigation will be thorough and swift, and we will certainly take all warranted steps to protect the public.”

Car-Z-Art vice president of advertising, Charlie Zakin tells the Times that the company was unaware of the AG’s tests, but noted that safety is its highest priority.

Retailers where the products were sold tell the Times that they would cooperate with any investigation into the products and their availability.

Walmart said it requires suppliers to meet “all applicable” safety standards, while Target and Kmart reaffirmed their commitment to safety. Target an Toys “R” Us said they would also look into the product independently.

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Cra-Z-Art Toy Jewelry Kits Are Found to Have High Lead Levels [The New York Times]