Manassas Journal Messenger | Company recalls metal charms sold at stores

A New Jersey company is recalling about 2.8 million metal charms sold at Michaels stores and other arts and crafts retailers because they contain high levels of lead, the government said Thursday.

Michaels spokeswoman Laura Byrne said the arts and crafts store removed the charms before the recall.

“As soon as we knew there was any concern with them at all we immediately pulled them off shelves,” Byrne said.”We just felt that from our standpoint it was important to get that done immediately.”

Byrne could not say how many charms might have been sold in Michaels stores in the Prince William area.

Becki Williams, the manager of the Hancock Fabrics in Manasssas, said her store stocked the charms.

“We got a recall notice about them a couple of weeks ago and we pulled them all off our shelves,” Williams said.

Williams also placed a recall notice in her store so that anyone who bought the charms would know of the recall and return the charms to the store.

None have been returned, Williams said.

“I really don’t think that we sold any,” Williams said.

Jan Lovitt, store manager at the Hancock Fabrics on Smoketown Road in Woodbridge, said her store did not sell the charms.

The mostly silver-color charms, made in China, were sold in packages of two to 12 pieces for $3 to $4 at Michaels stores from July 2002 to February 2005; at ReCollections from October 2004 to February 2005; and at Hancock Fabrics from January 2004 to January 2005.

The recall was prompted by reports that a 6-year-old girl from San Jose, Calif., apparently suffered lead poisoning in December after placing in her mouth a charm she wore as a necklace, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said.

The agency last month set acceptable lead levels for the millions of pieces of children’s metal jewelry sold at dollar stores and in vending machines.

The recalled charms — sold as decorations for greeting cards and gift bags but also used to make necklaces and bracelets — do not necessarily fall under the new policy. But CPSC spokeswoman Patty Davis said the lead poisoning incident was enough to prompt the company, Hirschberg Schutz & Co. Inc. of Warren, N.J., to recall the product.

Studies have found that even small amounts of lead ingested by children can cause neurological damage or behavior and learning problems.

Opponents of CPSC’s lead policy on toy jewelry argue it falls short, in part because it does not require the industry to test for lead.

“Until they have an enforceable policy out there, we’re con-cerned that kids are going to continue to be exposed to lead in jewelry, and these chaotic recalls are going to continue,” said Charles Margulis, a spokesman for the Center for Environmental Health in Oakland, Calif. The center has sued more than a dozen retailers for allegedly failing to warn customers of lead in jewelry.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., last month introduced legislation that would ban lead in all products for young children.

Connie Greene, a spokeswoman for Hirschberg Schutz, said she could not say whether the products had been tested before entering the market.

Consumers are urged to take the charms from children and con-tact the company at (800) 873-5506 or e-mail [email protected]

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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