The New York State Division of Consumer Protection Requests
Federal Government to Recall Children’s Clothing Item and Warns Parents on
“Back to School” Products Containing High Levels of Lead
The New York Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection today urged the Federal government to recall a children’s rain poncho called Poncho with Hood!, distributed by American Linens. Poncho with Hood! is sold at retail stores, including but not limited to Dollar-N-Things, and contains a drawstring in the hood and neck area which is prohibited by law in children’s upper outerwear sizes 2T to 16. Both State and Federal laws prohibit the sale of children’s clothing with drawstrings, which can catch on cribs, playground equipment and school bus doors, presenting a significant strangulation hazard.
“As kids gear up for a new school year, parents should not have to worry about the safety of the products they purchase for their children,” said New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales. “I urge retailers to pull the inherently dangerous children’s ponchos from their shelves and I call upon the Federal government to issue a recall of this product immediately.”
Accordingly, New York State has contacted the distributor of Poncho with Hood! to strongly urge them to immediately remove this product from the marketplace. In addition, the New York State Department of State Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) has called upon the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to request a national recall. If you have this poncho in your home, the State advises parents to discontinue use, remove the product from children, and await future recall instructions.
Additionally, New York State wants to warn parents about “general use” consumer items included by retailers in “Back to School” marketing campaigns that contain levels of lead that may not be safe for children. Under current federal law, children’s products that are designed or intended primarily for use by children 12 years of age or younger cannot contain greater than 100 ppm of total lead content in any accessible component part of the children’s product. Many “general use” items or electronic products intended for everyday use that appeal to and are marketed to kids have been found to contain levels of lead well in excess of the Federal lead standard for children without being in violation of the law.
“While many items being sold in today’s marketplace are not categorized as children’s products pursuant to Federal regulations, they are nonetheless being marketed directly to our children. This regulatory gap has created a group of products that our children may use every day that fall outside the purview of Federal protections in place to protect their health and safety. Unfortunately, what may be safe for adults frequently is not safe for our kids,” said Aiesha Battle, Director, New York State Division of Consumer Protection.
Lead is toxic to everyone, but young children are at greatest risk for health problems from lead poisoning. Their smaller, growing bodies make them more susceptible to absorbing and retaining lead. At low levels, lead can have adverse health effects on a child’s cognitive function and academic performance – effects that may be irreversible. Too much lead may lead to anemia, decreased muscle and bone growth, hearing damage, learning disabilities, nervous system, endocrine system and kidney damage, speech, language, and behavior problems, and brain damage. At extremely high levels, it can cause severe neurological effects in children, and lead to lethargy, convulsions, coma, and even death.
Accordingly, the New York State Department of State will be reaching out to the CPSC to discuss the expansion of the Federal definition of “children’s products” to address what the DCP believes is a misclassification of “children’s products” as “general use” products. In addition, the DCP will be exploring other opportunities or initiatives to alert consumers and retailers as to which products in the marketplace may contain elevated levels of lead, even when marketed to children. The DCP will work to make New York’s marketplace more transparent so that parents are able to identify which products have met various federal regulations in place to protect their children.
Examples of some of the general-use “Back-to-School” items found to have more than the legal allowable amount of lead permitted in “children’s products” include:
|Monkey Earbuds - The metal adaptor tip of the Jungle Approved headphones/earbuds marketed for children, manufactured by DGL Group Ltd. and sold at retail and online stores, contained 63,000 parts per million (ppm) of lead, which is 630 times the legal allowable amount for total lead content.||
|Amazing Spiderman USB Flash Drive - The metal clip affixed to the Amazing Spiderman USB flash drive contains 136.8 ppm of lead. This product is manufactured by Sakar International and sold at a number of retail and online stores.|
The Children’s Product Safety and Recall Effectiveness Act, Article 28-E of the General Business Law, requires a commercial dealer to contact, within 24 hours, any person or entity who purchased a product subject to a recall or warning. The dealer must direct such persons to stop the sale or distribution of the recalled product and provide disposition directions. In addition, retailers are required to remove all recalled children’s products from their shelves within 24 hours of receipt of a recall or warning notice.
The New York Department of State is charged with enforcement of these recall provisions. Consumers who identify a recalled product in the marketplace, or require more information about product safety and recalls, are urged to contact the Division of Consumer Protection at 518-474-8583 or visit the Division’s web site at www.dos.ny.gov/consumerprotection. The Division can also be reached via Twitter (@NYSConsumer) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/nysconsumer).