Sep 9 2007
Canadian consumers are being warned yet again about products from China.
This time the alert involves cell phone charms and zipper pulls which Health Canada says contain dangerously high levels of lead.
Health Canada says the Chinese made products could be quite dangerous for young children who often put things in their mouths and they should be kept well out of the reach of young children.
It is thought that almost 54,000 of the cell phone charms and zipper pulls were sold at Dollarama stores in Canada between July 2006 and August 2007; to date there have been no reports of any lead poisoning from them.
Health Canada says as long as they are used in the manner that they are meant to be used the risk is very low of lead poisoning, but anyone sucking, chewing, or swallowing these items would be exposed to high levels of lead.
The cell phone charm, is approximately 15 mm in diameter, is silver and in the shape of a purse with a handle with a yellow painted flower on the purse.
Lead is a toxic heavy metal which can have harmful effects on the behaviour and development of children even at very low levels of exposure.
Items which are made with a high percentage of lead are heavy for their size, and relatively soft; lead is grayish in colour, but many jewelry items made of lead are covered by a protective or decorative coating so that the lead cannot be seen.
Canada's Children's Jeweler Regulations, which came into force in 2005, make it illegal to import, advertise or sell in Canada children's jeweler items which contain more than 600 mg/kg total lead and 90 mg/kg migratable lead.
Swallowing an item with significant lead content places a person at very high risk for severe and potentially fatal lead poisoning.
Consumers are advised to check if children's costume jewelry items are made from it and to contact their doctor should they suspect any signs of illness which might be linked to the ingestion of lead.