Two of the nation's largest retailers and a third company are named in a New York lawsuit claiming the companies imported and sold children's toys with lead levels up to 10 times higher than federal limits.
New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood said in the lawsuit filed in an Albany court Thursday that Walmart, Target and Randolph, New Jersey-based LaRose Industries, importer of the "Cra-Z-Jewelz" jewelry-making kits, "committed thousands of violations" of state laws regulating the safety of children's toys sold in New York.
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Underwood, a Democrat, said tests the attorney general's office conducted on kits purchased across the state in 2015 and '16 found that wristbands sold with the items contained lead at levels of 120 to 980 parts per million. The federal Consumer Product Safety Act for children's products set the limit at 100 parts per million.
LaRose recalled the toys in 2016 after additional testing corroborated the New York tests.
Underwood said the state's lawsuit stems from the test findings and the agency's follow-up investigation.
"Our lawsuit seeks to hold these companies accountable for the failures that allowed lead-contaminated toys on store shelves, while forcing them to take responsibility for the safety of the products they sell," she said.
The lawsuit seeks civil penalties from the companies and a court order requiring them to ensure they don't ever again sell toys containing high lead levels in New York.
Spokespeople for Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart and Minneapolis-based Target both said the companies stopped selling the toys after the recall.
Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove said the company has discussed the matter with Underwood's office and will address the allegations in court. Target spokeswoman Danielle Schumann said referred additional questions to LaRose.
A message was left with LaRose seeking comment.