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Lead contamination in jewelry in Southern California

April 28, 2009 |  1:33 pm

State investigators recently discovered lead contamination in more than 30 pieces of jewelry in Southern California warehouses, including one wooden angel necklace with nearly 74% lead content.

Some of the pieces, which were available in a variety of colors, were imported from China and were advertised as being lead-free, according to the state Department of Toxic Substances Control. But tests showed lead content in the jewelry that exceeded California’s limits.

The items included Virgin Mary pendants, butterfly earrings, hair clips and brooches. A silver metal ring with a cross design had 630,000 parts per million lead despite being labeled as lead-free. A necklace with a fairy pendant had 830,000 parts per million lead.

The department is working with distributors to clear the products off shelves.

-- Tiffany Hsu


Photo: A brooch containing 800,000 parts per million lead was advertised as "lead-free."