An Indianpolis mom's efforts has led to Kmart pulling costume jewelry advertised as "lead free" from store shelves because, contrary to the claim, the jewelry contains high levels of lead. The jewelry was sold throughout the United States, and contains labeling that advertises it as "lead free." But, testing with a device provided by her employer showed that the lead free jewelry actually had high levels of lead.
The device was an X-ray fluorescent lead analyzer that her empoloyer had recently acquired. The device costs around $35,000. She was practicing using it when she tested jewerly she had purchased for her daughter and found the supposed lead free jewelry to be 52% lead.
Kmart has indicated that the jewelry was primarily sold under the Accessories brand line, and was not intended for children. It has agreed to remove all costume jewelry labeled "lead free."
However, Kmart has not agreed to remove all costume jewelry – just those items mislabeled "lead free" that contain lead.
The story highlights the need for parents to remain vigilant. Most parents don't have access to a $35,000 analyzer. And lead in jewelry is NOT regulated at the federal level. California has a law on the books limiting lead in jewelry. If you are going to buy costume jewelry for kids, find out from the manufacturer whether it complies with California's lead in children's jewelry law and how it assures compliance. Or, a more expensive solution, but sterling silver or gold.