Children’s Toys Recalled for Lead

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) just announced <"">two recalls of children’s products due to risk of lead exposure.

About 8,400 Spencer Skull-And-Crossbones Necklaces have been recalled by importer Spencer Gifts, LLC of Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, because the skull and metal clasp of the necklace—which was manufactured in China—contain high levels of lead.  This recall involves a necklace with a “skull-and-crossbones” symbol and a metal clasp.  The skull is embedded with 11 pieces of rhinestones on its forehead and one rhinestone on both ends of the crossbones.  

The recalled Spencer Skull-and-Crossbones Necklaces were sold at Spirit Halloween and Spencer Gift stores nationwide from November 2006 to December 2008 and retailed for between $8 and $10.  The CPSC is advising consumers to immediately take the recalled Spencer Skull-and-Crossbones Necklaces away from children and contact Spencer Gifts for a refund or exchange.  Spencer Gifts can be reached toll-free at (800) 321-2497 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. ET Monday through Friday and at its Websites at either or

The CPSC also announced that about 3,000 DDI, Inc. Toy Construction Play Sets have been recalled due to violation of the lead paint standard because surface paint on the play sets can contain lead.  DDI, Inc. is located in Dubuque, Iowa; however, the play sets were manufactured in China.  The recall involves the 136-piece Mega Construction Play Set—Item# 911346—and includes various construction equipment, vehicles, buildings, and roads and is packaged in a black and yellow box with the word “Builder” printed in the upper left hand corner of the package.

The recalled DDI Toy Construction Play Sets were sold fro about $20 at home centers, hardware stores and farm stores nationwide from October 2008 through December 2008.  The CPSC is advising consumers to immediately take the recalled DDI Toy Construction Play Sets away from children and contact the firm for a refund of the purchase price.  DDI can be reached toll-free at (800) 220-2390 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. ET Monday through Friday at its Website at

In children and fetuses, lead exposure can cause brain and nervous system damage, behavioral and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems, headaches, mental and physical retardation, and behavioral and other health problems.  Lead is also known to cause cancer and reproductive harm and, in adults, can damage the nervous system.  Once poisoned by lead, no organ system is immune.

Unfortunately, lead poisoning is difficult to recognize because it manifests with subtle symptoms and there are no definitive indicators pointing to contamination.  When faced with peculiar symptoms that do not match any one disease, lead poisoning should be considered.

In 2007, over six million toys were recalled because of lead; the highest number ever due to product defects; Mattel Inc. alone recalled twenty-one million toys.  Lawsuits over lead in toys include cases with Fisher-Price; Michaels Stores; Sears, Roebuck and Co.; Costco Wholesale; Eveready Battery; KMart; and Marvel Entertainment for Ernie, Elmo, Big Bird, SpongeBob, and Thomas the Train products.  Potentially dangerous toys remained on store shelves several times during 2007 and by the time that year’s holiday season hit—the busiest selling time for toy companies—the CPSC had recalled 75 brands of toys.  Of those, 39 recalls were implemented due to lead exposure.

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