Press Releases

High Levels of Lead Found in Jewelry from Saks, Express and Other Retailers

Oakland, CA-The Center for Environmental Health (CEH)
today announced that testing performed for the California Attorney General found
high levels of lead in jewelry purchased this year from four more leading
retailers, including a $200 necklace from Saks Fifth Avenue that contained more
than 175,000 parts per million (ppm) of lead. The Attorney General has notified
Saks and the three other retailers, Express, Wet Seal, and Styles for Less, that
their jewelry is in violation of California law.


"Buyers need to know that even expensive jewelry can
have high levels of lead," said Caroline Cox, CEH Research Director. "Lead can
pose real health threats, especially to pregnant women or kids who play with
their parent's jewelry."


Two recent studies, both published in the National
Institute of Environmental Health Sciences's peer-reviewed journal Environmental
Health Perspectives, demonstrated the impacts that lead exposure during
pregnancy can have on a woman's unborn child.


One study, investigating children's IQ scores in
relation to their mother's blood lead level, concluded that lead exposure during
pregnancy could have "lasting and possibly permanent effects" on a child's IQ.
The second study showed that lead exposure during the first trimester (three
month period), when some women are not even aware that they are pregnant, had
the most pronounced effects on a child's mental development.


Last week, CEH announced finding high levels of lead in
jewelry purchased and tested through a grant from the Proposition 65 Jewelry
Testing Fund from Claire's, Cost Plus, Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, DD's
Discount, and The Buckle, and the California Department of Toxic Substances
Control released their findings of leaded jewelry from Long's Drugstores and
small stores in the Los Angeles area.


CEH has purchased jewelry for the Proposition 65 Jewelry
Testing Fund from retailers in the Bay Area and the Los Angeles area since
September. The nonprofit is investigating jewelry for compliance with the
California law
under a grant administered by the California Attorney General.


CEH's has previously uncovered lead threats to children
from toys, vinyl baby bibs, children's jewelry and other products. 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.