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Wal-Mart Recalls More Lead Tainted Key Chains

Jun 20, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP

In a second such move, Wal-Mart—in cooperation with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)—is recalling nearly 40,000 “Hip Charm” Key Chains due to high lead content.  Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled Hip Charm Key Chains, especially keeping the lead-tainted charms away from children and pregnant women.

According to the CPSC, approximately 39,000 Hip Charm Key Chains are being recalled in addition to the 12,000 key chains recalled in the April announcement.  In both cases, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., of Bentonville, Arkansas is the distributor of the Hip Charm Key Chains and FGX International Inc., of Smithfield, Rhode Island is the importer; the key chains were manufactured in China.  The Hip Charm Key Chains in this week’s recall sold in Wal-Mart stores nationwide from April 2005 through June 2008 and retailed for between $.50 and $6.00.

The charms on the key chain can contain high levels of lead.  Although no injuries have reported in this recall, the Illinois Attorney General informed Wal-Mart and CPSC in April that one of the previously recalled key chains was found in the home of a nine-month-old child who was discovered to have high blood levels of lead. The child was observed mouthing this key chain.

Exposure to lead in children and unborn children can cause brain and nervous system damage, behavioral and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems, headaches, mental and physical retardation, and behavioral and other health problems.  Lead is also known to cause cancer and reproductive harm and, in adults, lead can damage the nervous system.  Despite efforts to control lead and the success in decreasing lead poisoning, serious cases still occur.  Once poisoned, no organ system is immune.  Of particular concern is the developing brain because negative influences can have long-lasting effects and can continue well into puberty and beyond.

The recalled key chains have several charms including a button, clover, leaf, and heart, which hang from a silver-colored chain. The words “Hip Charm” and the following UPC numbers are printed on the products’ packaging:  03156811032, 03156811029, 03156811019, 03156811016, 03156811018, 03156811028, and 03156811030.

Consumers should not allow children to handle the key chain and are directed to return the key chains to any Wal-Mart store for a full refund.  For further information, contact Wal-Mart at (800) 925-6278 between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s Web site at www.walmartstores.com

In the April recall, the recalled key chain had several charms including a button, clover, leaf, heart, and a sand dollar, which also hung from a silver-colored chain. The words “Hip Charm” and UPC #31568 11017 were printed on the key chain’s packaging.  These key chains sold at Wal-Mart stores nationwide from April 2005 through April 2008 and retailed for about $6.00.

Children with lead poisoning may experience irritability, sleeplessness or excess lethargy, poor appetite, headaches, abdominal pain with or without vomiting—and generally without diarrhea—constipation, and changes in activity level.  A child with lead toxicity be iron deficient and pale and can be either hyperactive or lethargic and may show lead lines on gingival tissue.


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