ROCHESTER, N.Y., April 25 (UPI) -- The Attorney General of New York, Eric Schneiderman, has called on several toy stores in the state to remove Cra-Z-Art jewelry-making kits because the bracelets they contain have higher levels of lead than is legally permitted in toys.
After a nearly two-year investigation, Schneiderman sent letters to several stores that sell the jewelry kits to pull the products from shelves, and to the Consumer Product Safety Commission to request a national recall on the products.
Starting last year, Schneiderman's office bought several Cra-Z-Art jewelry kits to have them tested for lead based on concerns raised in reports by consumer protection groups showing the kits were among widely available toys testing positive for dangerous chemicals, including lead.
"Manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers all have a responsibility to ensure that products intended for use by children are safe," Schneiderman said in a press release. "My office's discovery of children's products containing high-levels of lead for sale on store shelves in New York points to an alarming breach in the safety net that is supposed to protect our kids from dangerous chemicals. In addition to calling for immediate action to remove these products from store shelves, my office will investigate -- and hold accountable -- those responsible for allowing toxic products to reach our children. No parents should have to worry that a toy they buy may poison their child."
The jewelry kits -- Shimmer N' Sparkle Cra-Z-Art Cra-Z-Jewelz Gem Creations Ultimate Gem Machine, Shimmer N' Sparkle Cra-Z-Art Cra-Z-Jewelz Gem Creations Gem Charm and Slider Bracelets and My Look Cra-Z-Art Cra-Z-Jewelz Gem Creations Ultimate Gem Machine -- were bought at Target, K-Mart and Toys R Us in October and November 2015 and February 2016, and tested for lead and other toxic materials.
Wristbands in all three of the jewelry kits contained lead at levels between 120 and 980 parts per million, far above the 100 ppm limit for children's products, Schneiderman's office reports.
Schneiderman has asked the jewelry kits not be sold in New York, where they are available at brick-and-mortar stores, as well as online from Amazon and Walmart, but does not have the authority to order a formal recall, either in his state or nationally.
"Just hours after receiving information about these jewelry making kits, CPSC staff opened an investigation into the safety of these products," Elliot Kaye, chairman of the CPSC, said in a statement. "Preventing children's exposure to harmful metals and chemicals has long been one of my highest priorities."
The toys are manufactured in China, and distributed by New Jersey-based LaRose Industries, a representative for which told The New York Times it had not been aware of Schneiderman's investigation but that the three jewelry kits had passed "rigorous" safety testing and meet "all regulatory standards."
As of this morning, the Cra-Z-Jewelz series of products was not available for purchase at the company's website, or at those of Target, Toys R Us and Amazon.