Tests have revealed high levels of lead in children's products sold at Wal-Mart and Target, a consumer group working with the California attorney general's office said Wednesday.
The Oakland, Calif.-based Center for Environmental Health, which commissioned the tests, said lead exceeding allowable levels was found in Wal-Mart products such as toy boxing gloves, toy foam jewelry beads and green and yellow beanbag chairs for toddlers. At Target, the center said it found two chairs with high lead levels, one of which had 70 times the legal limit for lead.
Minneapolis-based Target Corp. didn't immediately respond to a request for comment by The Associated Press, but the center said Target agreed to remove the chairs from its stores.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. spokeswoman Melissa Hill said the company is stopping sales of the products in California and from Wal-Mart.com.
Hill said the Bentonville-based company would "investigate this matter further."
The California attorney general's office confirmed it contacted the retailers about the test results.
The Wal-Mart items contained between three times and 45 times the legal limit for lead, the center said. The group said Wal-Mart was wrong to not pull the products companywide.
"We cannot understand how Wal-Mart can continue to sell these lead-tainted products to children in any state, or any country," said Caroline Cox, research director at the center. Cox noted that federal limits on lead content in children's products have been in place for more than two years.
"Clearly Wal-Mart needs to do better for our families," Cox said.
The Center for Environmental Health is funded by a grant from the California attorney general's office to test children's products to see whether they comply with U.S. and California regulations.
The center said it also found high levels of lead in three adult jewelry items — two plastic necklace cords and a plastic choker — and called for a halt to sales.
Hill said Wal-Mart works with its suppliers on compliance with regulations.
"The safety of customers and their children is a top priority of Wal-Mart, and we have established testing standards with our suppliers to ensure the quality and safety of our products," Hill said. She noted that a recall was not issued on the items.
The center said the tested items were bought in mid-September at San Francisco-area Target and Wal-Mart stores, or were ordered from the retailers' online businesses.
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