Press Release
For Immediate Release
October 30, 2007
 
Contact: Robyn Ziegler
312-814-3118
877-844-5461 (TTY)
rziegler@atg.state.il.us
 

*****CONSUMER ALERT*****CONSUMER ALERT*****

ATTORNEY GENERAL WARNS OF LEAD POISONING HAZARD IN CERTAIN HALLOWEEN TOYS

“Ugly Teeth” and Plastic Witch Basket Contain High Levels of Lead

Chicago – As parents and children prepare for Halloween activities, Attorney General Lisa Madigan is warning consumers of dangerously high lead levels in some Halloween toys, making them hazardous to the health of those using the products, specifically a purple witch basket sold at Family Dollar Stores and plastic fake teeth, known as “Ugly Teeth” party favors, sold at Factory Card Outlet stores were discovered to contain unsafe amounts of lead paint. As a result, Madigan urged parents to make sure these Halloween items are not a part of their children's festivities.

Both Family Dollar Stores and Factory Card Outlet have pulled these products from their store shelves but Madigan warned it is possible that previously purchased products are already in homes.

“Halloween activities should not end up exposing our children to dangerous levels of lead,” Madigan said.

“Parents should check to make sure their children do not already possess these items,” she added.

The plastic buckets are purple with a black witch painted on the side. “Ugly Teeth” are fake plastic teeth sold in packages of eight that are inserted in the mouth and fit over a child's real teeth coming in direct contact with the child's teeth, lips and gums.

Dr. Jeffrey Weidenhamer of Ashland University in Ohio conducted lead tests on several children's products and recently released results indicating that several Halloween-related toys, including “Ugly teeth,” and the plastic witch baskets, contained unsafe amounts of lead paint.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Family Dollar stores announced a voluntary recall of the plastic Halloween baskets on October 25 due to high lead levels discovered by Dr. Weidenhamer's team of researchers but stopped short of recalling other hazardous products identified by researchers. Even without an official recall, Factory Card Outlet immediately took action to remove the product from its stores and posted notices to alert customers.

“I commend Factory Card Outlet for their diligence in protecting customers,” said Madigan.

“I urge the Consumer Product Safety Commission to announce a recall for the ‘Ugly Teeth' and to take immediate action to ensure that both of these products are taken off of store shelves and away from our children.”

For more information about recalled products, consumers should call Attorney General Madigan's recall hotline, launched earlier this month to provide parents and consumers the latest information on product recalls to help ensure their families' safety. The recall hotline (1-888-414-7678) helps callers identify recalled products in their homes and learn how to contact companies to repair or return affected products. Consumers are also encouraged to sign up for more information about the latest government recalls at www.recalls.gov .

Madigan's office enforces the Illinois Lead Poisoning Prevention Act, which prohibits the sale of toys, clothing, jewelry or any other product intended for use by children that contains lead in excess of 600 parts per million.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood lead poisoning is considered to be the most preventable environmental disease impacting young children. While children are most commonly exposed to lead from lead-based paints in older homes, other items such as jewelry and toys can be a significant source of lead exposure for children and teens

For more information on the effects of lead in children, please visit the Illinois Department of Public Health's website at www.idph.state.il.us and the Chicago Department of Public Health's website at www.cityofchicago.org or contact the Chicago Department of Public Health hotline for general lead concerns at (312) 747-LEAD (5323).

Photographs of the “Ugly Teeth” products

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