Godfrey & Kahn Updates
March 19, 2008
by Josh Johanningmeier
The seven-figure civil penalty is the largest ever imposed for a violation of the FHSA and the result of Reebok's importation and distribution of charm bracelets containing toxic levels of lead, one of which was swallowed by a 4-year-old child in Minneapolis who died of lead poisoning. The charm bracelets were alleged to have lead content as high as 93%, a level defined by the FHSA as "toxic."
The CPSC has enforcement authority over the FHSA as well as the Consumer Product Safety Act. The FHSA bans "toxic" levels of lead in numerous products, including toys and other children's products. To comply with the FHSA, products must have a lead content below 0.06% by weight. Numerous recent recalls of imported toys and other children's products - including the recall of more than 29 million toys in 2007 - have led to congressional action to strengthen CPSC enforcement authority through the CPSC Reform Act.
The avalanche of recalls involving lead-contaminated products will no doubt result in additional, significant civil penalties. In the meantime, companies in the chain of product distribution need to take a hard look at their manufacturing processes, supply chains, testing protocols and vendor agreements to ensure compliance with U.S. regulations.
If you would like additional information regarding compliance with the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, the Consumer Product Safety Act, product recall procedures, or other product liability advice, please contact Josh Johanningmeier of our Product Liability and Tort Practice Group at email@example.com or 608-284-2637.