LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ The discovery of lead in the fabric of
a brand of baby bibs sold at Wal-Mart Stores has resulted in a
recall of the items, the company said.
The bibs, sold under the Baby Connection brand name, came in
packs of two to seven bibs, with embroidered prints or images of
Sesame Street characters. Some were sold as long ago as 2004. The
bibs were made by Hamco Inc. exclusively for the Bentonville-based
Mia Masten, a Chicago-based spokeswoman for Wal-Mart, said the
vinyl portion of the bibs exceeded the lead levels set by Illinois
for children's products. She said the company had worked with the
Illinois attorney general's office to pull the items and later
decided to expand the recall nationwide.
Masten said about 60,000 of the bib bundles were sold in
Illinois without any reported injuries.
Masten said officials with the world's largest retailer have
been in contact with Hamco, but referred all questions about the
products' manufacturing to Hamco.
Officials at Hamco, a subsidiary of Crown Crafts Inc. of
Gonzales, La., said the company has no comment and referred
questions to Wal-Mart.
The Illinois attorney general's office identified the bibs as
being sold between June 2004 and the end of March of this year in
Wal-Mart stores throughout the state. Tests on three styles of the
bibs tested positive for lead more than 600 parts per million,
Illinois' standard for lead in children's products, said Robyn
Ziegler, a spokeswoman with the attorney general's office.
While Wal-Mart pulled the product from its shelves nationwide,
Masten said only customers in Illinois would be eligible to receive
refunds or replacements. It wasn't immediately clear why the
refunds only covered Illinois.
Initially, Masten said the recall only pertained to Illinois.
Later Wednesday, she said it was nationwide.
Wal-Mart's recall comes after a lawsuit over the bibs by the
Center for Environmental Health, based in Oakland, Calif. Alexa
Engelman, a researcher there, said the center became aware of the
bibs in September. Engelman said a report by an independent
laboratory test contracted by the center showed the bibs contained
16 times the amount of lead allowed in paint.
Lead, used as a stabilizer in vinyl plastic, can be ``easily
substituted" for other products, Engelman said.
Public health experts consider elevated levels of lead in blood
a significant health hazard for children. Studies have repeatedly
shown that childhood exposure to lead can lead to learning
problems, reduced intelligence, hyperactivity and attention deficit
disorder. There is no lead level that is considered safe in blood,
and recent studies have shown adverse health effects even at very
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a statement
Wednesday saying that the bibs were safe if in good condition.
However, if a bib ``deteriorates to the point that a baby could
pull or bite off and swallow a piece of vinyl containing the lead,
then the amounts of lead consumed could approach levels of
concern," the agency said.
Those who purchased the bibs in Illinois can return them at
their local Wal-Mart for a full refund or can receive a free
replacement by calling (877) 373-3812.