Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Issues Warning after Test Results Show Lead-Tainted Jewelry Being Sold in Kentucky
Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and the Kentucky Department for Public Health today issued a warning to consumers after an investigation by the Attorney General's office confirmed high levels of lead in jewelry sold in Kentucky. The brightly colored jewelry sold at Rainbow stores in Lexington and Louisville could be attractive to children and could present a danger to a child's health. An investigation into whether the products have been sold elsewhere in Kentucky is ongoing.
Working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the Kentucky Department for Public Health and the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, General Conway's office obtained samples and ordered tests of the jewelry earlier this month after the California Attorney General's office issued a Notice of Violation to Rainbow for selling jewelry contaminated with lead.
"I've launched this investigation to help protect Kentucky kids from dangerous toys and jewelry," General Conway said. "If parents believe their children may have been exposed to the jewelry they should contact their local health departments or pediatrician."
Laboratory tests obtained by the Attorney General's office confirmed that many of the brightly colored heart pendants and bracelets were greater than 80% lead. The Kentucky samples showed the metal charms and jewelry contained as much as 894,962 parts per million (ppm) of lead, which is more than 2000 times the CPSC's recommended maximum acceptable level of 300 ppm for lead in children's jewelry. Rainbow has pulled these items from its stores and has assured the Attorney General's office the items will not be sold in Kentucky. Results obtained by the California Attorney General's office also showed lead in jewelry purchased in 5-7-9 stores.
Consumers who have purchased these products, either at Rainbow or 5-7-9 stores, should either throw the jewelry away or store the item in a safe place out of reach of children in case it is needed to secure a refund.
General Conway and Public Health Commissioner William D. Hacker, M.D. strongly advise keeping all jewelry, keys or charms not designed for young children away from children under the age of six to prevent possible lead poisoning or choking.
A small child mouthing or swallowing an item containing the amount of lead found in some of the Rainbow products could suffer acute or chronic lead poisoning, which can cause death or permanent adverse health effects including behavioral problems and learning disabilities, according to Dr. Susan Pollack, a pediatrician with the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center at the University of Kentucky.
Lead is strictly limited in children's jewelry but there is no federal limit for lead in adult jewelry. In this case, the Office of the Attorney General is working to ensure that the lead-contaminated jewelry that could be attractive to children is kept off of store shelves and out of the hands of Kentucky kids. For a sample of the items tested, test results and photographs of the jewelry and charms, go to http://ag.ky.gov/multimedia/photos/
For more information on the safety of children's jewelry, go to http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/?s=metal+jewelry. For a full list of recalled products, go to www.cpsc.gov or visit General Conway's KY Kids Alert section available on his website.
For more information on how to prevent lead poisoning, see http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/mch/cfhi/clppp.htm