CPSC Fines Excelligence Learning Corp Over Lead Tainted Toys

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) just announced that Excelligence Learning Corp, of Monterey, California—which does business as (DBA) Discount School Supply—has agreed to pay a $25,000 civil penalty for allegedly violating the federal <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/lead_paint_poisoning">lead paint ban. The Commission has provisionally accepted the penalty settlement.

The settlement resolves CPSC staff allegations that Excelligence imported more than 33,000 units of children’s products that contained lead paint above the 0.06 percent legal limit at different intervals between August 2000 and August 2007. In 1978, a federal ban prohibited toys and other children’s articles from having more than 0.06 percent lead (by weight) in paints or surface coatings. As a result of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), the regulatory limit was reduced to 0.009 percent on August 14, 2009.

These products were previously recalled in:

*November 2007 (the recall notice can be viewed at: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml08/08090.html)

*December 2007 (the recall notice can be viewed at: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml08/08528.html)

*January 2008 (the recall notice can be viewed at: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml08/08537.html)

In agreeing to the settlement, Excelligence denies that it knowingly violated federal law, as alleged by CPSC staff.

Meanwhile, we recently wrote that a new study revealed that childhood exposure to lead can lead to permanent brain damage, citing US News and World Report. “What we have found is that no region of the brain is spared from lead exposure. Distinct areas of the brain are affected differently,” said study author Kim Cecil, quoted US News. Cecil is an imaging scientist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and a professor of radiology, pediatrics and neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, said US News, citing a news release.

We have long written that exposure to lead in children 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. We have also long stressed that, once poisoned by lead, no organ system is immune, particularly the developing brain because negative influences can have long-lasting effects and can continue well into puberty and beyond.

“Many people think that once lead blood levels decrease, the effects should be reversible, but, in fact, lead exposure has harmful and lasting effects,” Cecil said, quoted Science Daily.

Of concern is that items, including children’s toys, keep turning up in the market with lead levels in excess of federally mandated lead standards.

For instance, we recently wrote that a public interest group found that some toys being sold at popular retailers violate current mandates. A significant issue given that we are in the midst of the heaviest shopping season of the year. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) released its report—“Trouble in Toyland”—in which it stated that although many stores and toy makers are in compliance with the laws, some are not. This is problematic because it is virtually impossible for consumers to determine which toys are and are not safe.

In 2008, nearly 80 percent of all product recalls in the United States involved imports from China, including a wide array of toys in violation with lead paint standards.

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