Jo-Ann Stores the latest toy importer to pay up for allegations it violated lead paint ban

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Jo-Ann Stores agrees to pay $50K civil penalty

WASHINGTON — Another toy importer will pay a hefty penalty after the government said it violated the federal lead paint ban by importing and selling lead-tainted children’s products made in China.

Jo-Ann Stores Inc., of Hudson, Ohio, will pay a $50,000 civil penalty, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced on Wednesday. The settlement resolves the agency’s allegations that it knowingly imported and sold Robbie Ducky children’s products with higher-than-allowed levels of lead paint.

Thousands of Robbie Ducky products including children’s watering cans, toy rakes and water globes sold at Jo-Ann stores were recalled in 2007 because they contained high levels of lead, the agency said. That year, the agency announced a rash of recalls involving other lead-tainted toys and products, some that had been on the market for years.

And in the past year, the agency has announced that companies including Mattel, OKK Trading, Target Corp., Schylling Associates Inc., RC2 Corp. and Excelligence Learning Corp. had agreed to pay penalties for violating the lead paint ban. CPSC spokeswoman Patty Davis declined to say whether more penalty announcements are coming.

All the recalls due to lead contamination got Congress’ attention. In 2008, lawmakers passed a measure that lowered the legal lead levels in toys.

The agency said Wednesday that Jo-Ann Stores, in agreeing to the settlement, denies the allegations that it violated federal law.

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CPSC’s penalty announcement:

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