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Company recalls kid's necklaces, zipper pulls

/ Source: The Associated Press

A California company is voluntarily recalling about 6 million children’s necklaces and zipper pulls that pose a serious risk of lead poisoning, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said Wednesday.

The painted metal jewelry contains high amounts of lead, which can be toxic if swallowed. There have been no reports of incidents or injuries associated with the Chinese-made jewelry sold by the Stravina Operating Co. of Chatsworth, Calif.

“Any time we find items with lead in them, we take a special interest,” Consumer Product Safety Commission chairman Hal Stratton told a news conference.

Studies have found that even small amounts of lead ingested by children can cause neurological damage, or behavior and learning problems.

The government in February set an acceptable level for lead in children’s jewelry sold mainly at discount stores and from vending machines. Concerns over lead resulted last year in the largest toy recall in U.S. history — 150 million pieces of jewelry by four importers. The four supplied nearly all vending machine jewelry.

The CPSC announced the latest recall after Stravina alerted it that the two products contained lead, commission spokeswoman Julie Vallese said. Company officials did not return two telephone calls seeking comment.

The recalled necklaces are silver-colored with individual names painted in a variety of colors attached to a 16-inch cord. The necklace packaging reads “Personalized Necklace” and “Stravina.” The packaging is marked with UPC code 0-35203-00039-7.

The recalled zipper pulls include nameplates similar to those on the necklaces but hang from a silver-colored metal clip designed to attach to backpacks, key rings or zippers. The packaging reads “Personalized Zipper Pull,” “Great for Backpacks and Keyrings too” and “Stravina.” The packaging is marked with UPC code 0-35203-00038-0.

The jewelry was sold through discount, party, grocery and drug stores from March 2002 through September. Retail prices varied between $2 and $4.

Consumers who want a free replacement product can call Stravina at (800) 964-0029.

Government officials also warned consumers Wednesday to be on the lookout for counterfeit products, including stuffed animals that could pose a safety risk to children.

Vera Adams, executive director for trade enforcement and facilitation at Customs and Border Protection, held up for reporters a faux Winnie-the-Pooh doll as an example. It and other counterfeit plush toys can come unstitched and leak stuffing or shed their ears and eyes, posing a choking hazard. They also may not be flame-resistant, Adams said.

“In essence, no one knows what the product contains or how it was manufactured,” Adams said.

Even labels aren’t fail-safe, Adams said, citing cases where manufacturers had faked labels from Underwriters Laboratories Inc. and other testing companies that should attest to a product’s safety.

Adams and Stratton suggested shoppers buy only from known retailers and supervise play.