The bracelets with red heart-shaped pendants were sold at Dollarama stores across the country between December 2007 and February 2010. The jewelry which is made of 92 per cent lead, was manufactured in China and imported by Montreal-based company to be sold at many of its 603 locations across Canada.
This is the second time in as many months that Health Canada revealed a major Canadian retailer imported and sold children’s jewelry made of almost pure lead.
Last month, Groupe Dynamite Inc., also of Montreal, recalled about 4,200 bracelets sold between November 2009 and February 2010 at 150 Garage stores across Canada.
Even though it became illegal to import or to sell children’s jewelry containing more than 0.06 per cent lead in 2005, tests showed the Garage Beaded String Bracelet contained 87 per cent lead, while the Antique Silver Bracelet contained 90 per cent.
Wearing jewelry made of lead is not a health risk, but lead poisoning can be fatal if children chew, suck or swallow it. Scientific evidence shows lead is highly toxic to children, even at very low levels.
In 2006, a four-year old boy from Minneapolis, Minn., died of lead poisoning after swallowing a piece from a Reebok charm bracelet. The charm bracelet, made of almost pure lead, was provided as a free gift with the purchase of various styles of children’s Reebok footwear in the United States.
And in 2008, half of the children’s jewelry items tested at Health Canada’s product safety laboratory were made of almost pure lead.
A couple of years ago, Health Canada oversaw the targeted testing of 67 suspicious pieces and identified 39 with illegal levels of lead. Twenty of the metallic pieces were made of almost pure lead, with levels ranging from 80 per cent lead to 95 per cent lead. These levels are comparable to those found in lead-acid car batteries.
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