(Seattle) As Walmart continues to gather kudos for its recent announcement to phase out 10 toxic chemicals from its brand of personal care products, cosmetics and cleaning products by 2015, a study by the Washington Toxics Coalition (WTC) reveals that Walmart is selling jewelry with alarmingly high levels of lead.
Lead is highly toxic to the developing brain. Adverse effects can include decreased IQ levels, increased ADHD and increased hearing impairment as blood lead levels increase.
WTC purchased jewelry products labeled “Distributed by Wal-mart Stores, Inc.” in August 2013. A variety of items such as earrings, necklaces and bracelets were chosen.
WTC found that 8 out of 34 (almost 25%) of Walmart jewelry tested contained levels of lead ranging from 7,748 ppm (parts per million) to 357,790 ppm – over one-third lead. That is 300 times the federal limit of 100ppm for children’s products.
“Walmart should receive applause for their announcement to phase out certain toxic chemicals,” commented Erika Schreder, Science Director for Washington Toxics Coalition, “But they should also make getting lead out of jewelry a priority. With everything we know about the devastating, costly effects of exposure to lead, it is unconscionable that such high levels were found in the products they sell.”
Many of the Walmart jewelry designs purchased for this study appeal to young girls. WTC purchased brightly colored jewelry with designs with sparkly jewels. The products were labeled as “Not intended for children under 14 years of age.” However, there is nothing to prevent a younger child from being able to purchase this jewelry – and younger children are commonly attracted to these types of designs and sparkly jewelry.
Mike James, a Wallingford parent of a 12-year-old girl, said, “”It’s disturbing to think that my daughter – or anyone’s kid, has access to jewelry with that much lead in it.”
“I’m concerned about the impact this lead exposure is having on my fellow associates and me, not to mention all of the families who shop at Walmart,” Esmeralda Uvalle, OUR Walmart member and 10-year associate with the Mt.Vernon, WA Supercenter.
WTC urges Walmart to do the following:
1) Immediately remove these lead-containing jewelry products from its stores.
2) Publicly disclose the 10 chemicals being reduced or phased out in personal care products and cleaning products.
3) Commit to a timeline for phasing out Mind the Store’s list of Hazardous Hundred chemicals, which includes lead, from all of its products.
In addition, we call on Consumer Product Safety Commission to investigate these products for compliance in accordance with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and take appropriate enforcement action.