Target Corp., of Minneapolis, Minn. has agreed to pay a $600,000 civil penalty for allegedly violating the federal lead paint ban on toys, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) just announced.
The penalty settlement, which has been provisionally accepted by the Commission, resolves CPSC staff allegations that from May 2006 through August 2007, Target knowingly imported and sold various toysâ€”Kool Toyz Products, Anima-Bamboo Collection Games, Happy Giddy Gardening Tools, and Sunny Patch Chairsâ€”with paint or other surface coatings that contained lead levels above legal limits.
The federal lead paint ban for toys has been in place since 1978.
CPSC staff alleged that Target failed to take adequate action to ensure that no toys or childrenâ€™s products would bear lead-containing paint, thereby creating a risk of lead poisoning and adverse health effects to children. â€œThese highly publicized toy recalls were among many that helped spur action last year to impose even stricter limits on lead paint on toys,â€ said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. â€œThis penalty should remind importers and retailers that they have always had the same obligation to meet the strict lead limits as the manufacturers.â€
The Commission and Target announced voluntary recalls of the toys. In agreeing to the settlement, Target denies CPSC’s allegations that it violated the law.
Exposure to lead in 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. Once poisoned by lead, 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.