Press Releases

As the Holiday Shopping Season Approaches, Some Products for Children Still Contain Lead

November 17, 2009

Oakland, CA-A Mattel Barbie bicycle accessory set and a Disney “Tinker Bell” necklace set were among seven toys and children’s products found with high levels of lead in independent tests commissioned by the Center for Environmental Health (CEH). The seven lead-tainted products are the first found this holiday season by the Center in violation of the new federal law banning lead in products for children.

“When parents shop for toys this year, they need to know that there are still some lead problems on store shelves,” said Michael Green, Executive Director of CEH. The California Attorney General has notified the retailers and the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) of the lead-tainted products.

In addition to the Mattel and Disney products, CEH found levels of lead in violation of the new federal law in a Dora the Explorer game set, two children’s shoes, a child’s poncho, and a child’s belt. Of the seven products CEH found with high lead levels, the Disney jewelry and Mattel bike set had the highest lead levels. The amount of lead found in the seven products ranged from twice the legal limit of 300 parts per million (ppm) to more than 65 times the legal limit.

The products were purchased from Bay Area and San Diego retailers, including Target, WalMart, TJ Maxx, Tuesday Morning, Sears, Walgreens and other stores this fall. Six of the products were tested at Exova, an independent Ontario lab certified by the CPSC to test children’s products for compliance to new federal rules; the Disney jewelry was tested at Stat Analytical, a Chicago lab that has tested jewelry for compliance to California law.

CEH is testing children’s products for compliance to the federal and California laws as part of a state compliance testing program, and is funded for this work by a grant from the California Attorney General that is administered by the nonprofit Public Health Trust. CEH has tested approximately 250 children’s products since beginning the project in September. Results from all the CEH tests and more testing by other groups will be published by <>  on December 2.

CEH has a twelve-year track record of protecting children from hidden health hazards in consumer products and protecting communities from health hazards related to toxic pollution. CEH also works with major industries and leaders in green business to promote healthier alternatives to toxic products and practices.

CEH is offering free toy testing in its Oakland office during the holiday season. Drop-in toy testing is available Tuesdays through Thursdays from noon-6pm. For more information, see:


Click here to read CEH’s report on toxic toys.