Lead in SpongeBob Journals, Children’s Jewelry, Other Toys Spark New Wave of Recalls

The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) issued four separate recalls today for lead-tainted children’s products. This is the third time this month that the CPSC recalled items because of a lead hazard. As in the case of all the previous recalls, these items were manufactured in China. The latest recalls encompass children’s jewelry sets, pails and tops featuring characters from Curious George and Thomas the Tank Engine, and journals picturing scenes from the TV show SpongeBob SquarePants.

Last week, Mattel, Inc. issued a toy recall that included 436,000 die-cast metal cars that that were manufactured with lead paint. Earlier this month, Mattel’s Fisher-Price unit recalled over a million Chinese-made toys because of the same lead hazard. Today’s round of CPSC recalls will only increase suspicion of the “Made in China” label.

The CPSC said 14,000 Toby & Me Jewelry Sets imported by New York-based Toby NYC and 7,900 Children’s Divine Inspiration Charm Bracelets distributed by Buy-Rite Designs of Freehold, New Jersey were being recalled because they could contain high levels of lead. The Toby & Me recall includes three jewelry sets: a princess pink and clear crystal bead necklace and bracelet set with a painted metallic crown pendant; a pink and white pearl necklace and bracelet set with a painted metallic poodle pendant; and a pink pearl necklace, earrings and ring set. All of the sets came in a pink gift box with “Toby & Me” printed on the front. The jewelry sets were sold at T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and A.J. Wright stores between August 2006 and May 2007.

The charm bracelets involved in the Buy-Rite Designs recall have silver-colored angel, cross and heart charms, and clear and pink beads that hang from a silver-colored chain. These bracelets were sold in dollar and other retail stores nationwide between March 2004 and August 2007.

The CPSC also issued a recall notice for 66,000 spinning tops and 4,700 metal pails sold by Schylling Associates of Rowley, Massachusetts. Surface paint on the wood handles of the tops and pails contain excessive levels of lead. The tops were painted with Thomas and Friends, Curious George or a circus scene. Some of the pails feature Thomas and Friends or Curious George, while others are painted in solid red or yellow. Only tops and pails with wooden handles are being recalled, and those with plastic handles are considered safe. The items were sold between July 2001 and July 2002 in gift and specialty shops nationwide.

Finally, the CPSC is recalling 250,000 SpongeBob SquarePants Address Books and Journals because spiral bindings on the books have high lead levels. The books were distributed by Martin Designs, Inc. of Ashland, Ohio. They were sold in retail stores nationwide and have the UPC numbers 80773007505 and 80773002260 printed on their back covers.

Lead is a highly toxic metal. If ingested by young children, it can cause learning disabilities, behavioral issues and other health problems. The CPSC is advising caregivers to take the recalled products away from children and contact the companies involved to obtain a refund or a new toy.

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