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Letter to the President of Martin Designs Inc., Jeff Davis


Location: Washington, DC

Obama Raises Concerns About Latest Lead-Contaminated Children's Products

U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) today sent the following letter to Mr. Jeff Davis, president of Martin Designs Inc., raising concerns about this week's recall of lead contaminated children's journals and address books. In the letter, Obama requests information as to how the company identified the contamination, why lead was used in the products' paint, how will the company prevent future contamination, and what recommendations the company has for federal government intervention. Obama recently called on the President and U.S. Trade Representative to take immediate action to prevent further contamination. Obama introduced the Lead Free Toys Act of 2007 in April. This legislation was originally introduced in November 2005.

The text of the letter is below:

Dear Mr. Davis:

I am writing with regard to the SpongeBob SquarePants journals and address books imported by your company that were recalled this week due to elevated lead content in their painted black spiral bindings.

Lead poisoning from children's products is a serious issue that is endangering the health of too many children in this nation. In recent months, we have seen millions of toys recalled because of lead content. In all of these cases, the products were manufactured in China.

The federal government can - and should - play a greater role in keeping these dangerous products off store shelves. In November 2005, I introduced the Lead Free Toys Act, which would give the Consumer Product Safety Commission the authority to ban children's products containing lead. And, over the past two weeks, I have written to President Bush and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to ascertain what they are doing to protect America's children from lead-contaminated toys.

But toy manufacturers and importers need to take greater responsibility as well. For that reason, I recently wrote to the Toy Industry Association to ask what steps its members are taking to reduce lead hazards.

To assist me and my staff in determining how to address this serious problem, I would like to know the following from your company:

* How did your company identify the problem with the SpongeBob SquarePants items?

* Why was lead-based paint used in the manufacturing process? Was anyone in your company aware of this decision?

* How will your company prevent similar occurrences in the future? What steps will your company take to better regulate its foreign supply chains?

* What recommendations do you have for the federal government to assist your efforts to prevent the importation of lead-contaminated products?

If you have any questions about this request, please contact my office. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.


Barack Obama
United States Senator

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