Recall of Children's Items Leads to Reintroduce Lead Legislation
Reacting to a manufacturer's recall of 4 million lead-contaminated children's bracelets, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama will reintroduce lead poisoning legislation when the Senate reconvenes next week.
A&A Global Industries recalled its "Groovy Grabber" children's bracelets Tuesday because the paint on the metallic part of the bands contained high levels of lead.
The flexible bracelets were sold at vending machines in discount, grocery and department stores around the country between November 2005 and March 2007.
Obama's Lead Free Toys Act, first introduced in November 2005, requires the Consumer Product Safety Commission to classify any children's product containing lead as a banned substance under the Hazardous Substances Act.
No federal limits on lead in children's products currently exist.
Illinois, which has the highest lead poisoning rate in the nation, passed the first state-level preventative lead legislation last summer. The Illinois law bans children's products containing lead in excess of 600 parts per million.
"That's a threshold that protects children and is still feasible for manufacturers," said Mary Burns, community projects director at Lead Safe Illinois.
Obama, D-Ill., did not specify a parts-per-million limit in his original lead free bill. His new legislation will ban any product aimed at children younger than 6 containing more than "trace amounts" of lead.
Lead poisoning in children can cause maladies ranging from hearing and behavioral problems to kidney damage.
Burns said even mild lead exposure can result in "really precipitous drop-offs in IQ."
"When a child's brain is developing between birth and 3 years of age, lead in the brain interferes with neurological development," she said. "Children can have trouble focusing and show behavioral signs of attention deficit disorder."