Source AP ©

US retailers not to sell lead-based jewelry for kids

Two major U.S. retailers will stop selling lead-laden children's jewelry in a settlement with New York authorities.

Big Lots Inc., a discount retailer, and Michaels Stores Inc., a major crafts store, agreed to immediately discontinue sales of the jewelry at its stores across the U.S. Other regional retailers including Pure Allure of Oceanside, California, Buckwholesale.com, of Tucker, Georgia, and Dollar Days International of Scottsdale, Arizona, also settled investigations with Cuomo and taking the lead jewelry off their shelves.

Several companies will pay fines, Cuomo said.

Most of the jewelry was made in China, some was from Thailand and India, and some had no clear record of where the items were manufactured, said Cuomo spokesman John Milgrim.

The settlement comes as a national, voluntary recall of lead-contaminated children's jewelry is expected to be announced by the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission. Consumer protection groups nationally are also expected to release their annual list of what they consider unsafe toys.

Lead can be toxic and create learning disabilities in children. Cuomo said some of the 35 products contained as much as 1,000 times the federal safety standard.

"My office has undertaken an ongoing and extensive investigation into lead levels in children's jewelry, and taken swift, enforceable action to remove contaminated products from stores," Cuomo said.

Big Lots has 1,300 discount stores nationwide selling a variety of goods from toys and clothing to furniture. Michaels Stores is the largest arts and crafts retailer and has more than 950 stores in the United States and Canada. It also operates specialty stores under the names Aaron Brothers, Recollections, Star Decorators Wholesale and Artistree manufacturing facility.