On Tuesday, Target announced it would stop selling its Valentine’s Day "Message Bears" after California’s Attorney General Jerry Brown said that testing of the item revealed lead levels that exceeded federal law. The products, which were made in China for Target’s in-house brand, are two "Message Bears" – one brown stuffed bear with "I Love U" across its chest (with a heart representing "Love"), and one pink stuffed bear with "XOXO" across its chest. A spokesperson for Target acknowledges receiving a letter from the California Attorney General, and has confirmed that Target has pulled the items off store shelves. The spokesperson also stated that Target is conducting an internal investigation, and that the items initially had "compliant testing results" when shipped. An investigation by The Center for Environmental Health, a nonprofit watchdog, found that the toys had lead levels nearly 10 times higher than those allowed under federal law.
Exposure to lead can be dangerous to organs and damage the nervous system, and can be especially harmful to children. Manufacturers and retailers need to do more to ensure the safety of the public. Stricter testing and regulations are needed to ensure that dangerous products do not make it to the public. For my previous blog on consumer products that were recalled in 2009, please click here.