Products with high lead levels pulled

Claire’s and Ardène are co-operating with the recall on four of their products containing high lead levels, Health Canada said.

Health Canada issued an advisory on Jan. 3 telling Canadians the “monkey” pendant necklace from Claire’s, the “kitty,” “cherry bud” pendant necklaces and a key chain with a “5-petal blue glass star-like flower” from Ardène are being recalled because of the high levels of lead discovered in these four items.

“They recalled their products,” said Renee Bergeron, Health Canada media representative on product safety.

Bergeron said she believes Claire’s is allowing the public to return the recalled product for a full refund.           

Although store staff was advised by their supervisors to remain quiet on this issue, some confirmed that the stores were taking steps to removing the products from their shelves.

“As far as I know, the people here have been taking stuff off the shelves, unfortunately I can’t speak any further,” said downtown Eaton Centre’s Claire’s staff member who identified herself as Michelle.

Ardène has been returning the products to Montreal.

“No one has brought anything back. We brought them back to head office and they’re off the shelves,” said an Ardène staff member who would identify herself only as Ashley.

The Discovery

Bergeron said she believes it was a reporter from CBC Calgary who discovered the high lead levels in early December 2006. This discovery followed a media advisory issued on Dec. 14, 2006, warning Canadians about the danger of high lead levels.

After receiving the test results from the reporter, Health Canada tested the items in their own lab and confirmed the reporter’s findings.

It was random testing by product safety officers that initiated the release of the Dec. 14 advisory.

It’s Illegal

The Dec. 14 advisory says that under the Children’s Jewellery Regulations, it is illegal to import, advertise or sell jewellery in Canada to children under 15 years if the jewellery contains more than 600mg/kg of total lead and no more than 90 mg/kg of migratable lead.

Bergeron said there are regulations that allow lead to be used in manufacturing as long as the lead level does not pass the limit.

“It’s not like minimum levels of lead are going to be harmful.  It’s the high levels of lead,” Bergeron said.

Bergeron said the manufacturer is responsible for making sure their products do not pass the level. Not every product on the market goes through Health Canada.

Dr. Margaret Thompson, medical director of the Ontario Regional Information Poison Centre at The Hospital for Sick Children, said there has been one Canadian case in the past where a child died from lead poisoning           

“There have been children that have died because of high lead levels,” Dr. Thompson said.

There have been no reported cases of lead consumption as a result of the current incident.

The official Claire’s media relations representative could not be reached for comment.

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