A Hazardous Bite Out Of Halloween

Product photo of "Ugly Teeth" from Factory Card. CBS

Based on the inquiries by CBS News and the complaint filed with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there is now an official investigation into why some "Ugly Teeth" have levels of lead 100 times beyond the legal limit.

There are thousands of these fake teeth, which have been purchased in the past few days as part of the ghoulish outfits of tiny trick-or-treaters around the country. Lead is dangerous if ingested, and extremely dangerous to small children.

Retailers like Factory Card and Party Outlet, Party City, Halloween USA and distributors like AMSCAN responded to the news today, CBS News correspondent Hari Sreenivasan reports. They say they have pulled the teeth off store shelves, taken the products out of their inventory, warned their sales associates not to sell them, offering full refunds to those who have purchased the toys. Consumers who bought the teeth at Factory Card and Party Outlet can call 888-840-8066.

The Factory Card and Party Outlet chain traced the supply of these toys to JCS Hong Kong Limited, which is the subsidiary of AMSCAN - a company which will soon be purchasing the Factory Card and Party Outlet.

But as we learn in many of these product recalls from Chinese manufacturers, it can often be a labyrinthine trail to get to the producer and assembly line of inexpensively made goods.

The proportion of products that Professor Jeff Weidenhamer found to have high lead levels is what troubled him. Out of 56 Halloween-related products he tested, he found six to have levels between four and 130 times what is allowable. All 6 of the products with these problems were made in China.

"It's not a China problem, its a manufacturer's problem," Rachel Weintraub of the Consumer's Federation of America told CBS News today. Consumer groups aren't that surprised that the revelations of high lead levels in toys coming from China are also now affecting seasonal goods like Halloween toys.

Most of these products likely entered the supply chain well before all the toy recalls made headlines.

It could be a few months to see whether the increased diligence and vigilance by regulators, media, and retailers will pay off.
  • Hari Sreenivasan

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