US: Lead found in more baby bibs? Bibs sold in Toys R Us, Babies R Us questioned

Publisher Name: 
Daily Herald

A California consumer group said Wednesday it has filed a legal action


against Toys R Us and Babies R Us for selling vinyl baby bibs said to


contain high levels of lead.




After hearing the news, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office


immediately dispatched investigators to buy the bibs and have them tested


at independent labs.




The bibs include Disney's Winnie the Pooh characters and store brands


called Koala Baby and Especially For Baby, which were found to have three


to four times the legal limit for lead, said The Center for Environmental


Health.




Toys R Us and Babies R Us said Wednesday it began to immediately pull


those products from the shelves and test them for lead.




For the second time this year, vinyl bibs used to catch drool and food


under a baby's chin have been the focus of lead testing.




Baby bibs, such as Disney's Winnie the Pooh bibs and ones with brands


Koala Baby and Especially For Baby, at Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores


have high levels of lead, a consumer group charged Wednesday. Illinois


Attorney General Lisa Madigan is investigating. (Courtesy of Center for


Environmental Health.)




In May, the consumer group and Madigan found that vinyl bibs sold by


Wal-Mart contained lead. Their pressure lead to those products being


pulled from Wal-Mart's shelves.




At that time, they learned of the lead from 66-year-old grandmother


Marilyn Furer of Mount Prospect. She had tested her grandson Jensen's bibs


after hearing about similar reports of lead in plastic lunch boxes. So


many of her grandson's bibs tested positive that she contacted the


California group, which spearheaded the campaign.




"You have to be very scared of what's out there," Furer said Wednesday


after hearing of the second round of testing. "No level of lead should be


acceptable in a bib."




In Wednesday's action, the Center for Environmental Health said it filed a


60-day notice of violation in California. Toys R Us and Babies R Us said


it hasn't been served yet.




"There's a complicated line of liability to follow the law and that


primarily involves the manufacturer, but we could go after the retailer as


well," said Caroline Cox, the center's research director.




Kathleen Waugh, a spokeswoman for Toys R Us and Babies R Us, said the bibs


have met federal standards. But the company decided to pull the bibs off


store shelves this week and test them.




"Because the products we sell are at the heart of our relationship with


our customers, we require them to meet extremely high safety standards,


including both federal government requirements and the even more stringent


California Proposition 65 requirements," Waugh said. "Our bibs are tested


against those standards every six months by an independent testing


facility and passed these rigorous tests, including as recently as May."




Toys R Us has 1,500 freestanding toy and baby specialty stores worldwide.


The company sells merchandise through 586 toy stores nationwide and more


than 670 international toy stores. Babies R Us sells merchandise in more


than 250 stores nationwide. Both also sell products online.




Illinois has one of the toughest laws nationwide regarding lead poisoning


prevention. It bans any children's product that contains more than 600


parts per million of lead, said Cara Smith, deputy chief of staff for


policy and communications at the Illinois attorney general's office.




Smith said the law provides for $2,500 in fines for each violation, and an


additional $250 per day for each violation that continues.




Investigators will have the bibs tested this week and the results will be


reviewed. Smith said they also will trace down manufacturers and


distributors involved in bibs that contain lead.




"Kids chew on bibs. That's what they do," said Smith. "It's hard to


envision any product that could cause a bigger problem for children than


bibs. It goes in their mouth sometimes and so would the lead. It's


shocking to know we're dealing with this."

AMP Section Name:Manufacturing
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