dave-mittlemanTarget is recalling at least 100,000 children’s belts because of excessive amounts of lead in the belts’ buckles.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the voluntary recall yesterday and urged consumers to immediately stop using the belts and to return them to the nearest Target store for a full refund.

The affected belts include Cherokee brand boys’ belts and Circo brand girls’ belts.  The boys’ belts are black and brown reversible and the girls’ belts are white and pink with heart buckles.  Overall, Target sold about 105,000 of the belts between December 2008 and December 2009.  The Cherokee belts came in a two-pack and were embossed with the numbers: 02/08/0018, 202/08/0019 or 202/08/0020.   Similarly, the Circo belts were also sold in a two-pack and were embossed with the following numbers: 202/05/0071, 202/05/0072, 202/05/0073 or 202/05/0074. According to the CPSC, the belts contained an illegal amount of lead.  Like other children’s products with high levels of lead, the belts were manufactured in China. 

The first recall of lead-contaminated products began in 2007, when toy giant Mattel recalled millions of its toys due to dangerous levels of lead paint.  Those 967,000 toys were manufactured in China, and while Mattel argued that it kept two-thirds of those toys from reaching young consumers, it still left some 300,000 toys that made it into the hands of unsuspecting children.  Some of the lead-laced toys included the popular Elmo and Dora the Explorer toys.  Finally, in 2009 Mattel agreed to pay $2.3 million in fines for selling the dangerous toys.  However, the problem has continued with more children’s products contaminated with other lethal chemicals, including the recall of Miley Cyrus necklaces at Wal-Mart stores and the recall of McDonald’s Shrek-themed glasses, both of which contained high levels of cadmium.