Doll Maker Fights Ill. Recall Over Lead
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[January 23, 2008]
CHICAGO (AP) -- A popular toy maker is refusing to pull a lead-tainted doll from store shelves across Illinois, challenging a state law governing lead content in toys, the state says.
Ty Inc., best known for its Beanie Babies, says federal law takes precedence over the Illinois statute.
The state is considering suing Ty, based in Westmont, to force the company to comply.
"They sell very popular products that children love," Cara Smith, an aide to Attorney General Lisa Madigan, told the Chicago Tribune. "It would be our expectation that they would step up and do what they can to make sure their products don't contain lead."
The state became aware of the lead in Jammin' Jenna dolls -- not part of the Beanie Babies line
-- after the Chicago Tribune tested red vinyl shoes on three of the dolls and found all three exceeded Illinois lead limits.
Smith said that soon after the Tribune published its results on the Jammin' Jenna doll, the company told state authorities it would stop distributing that particular Ty Girlz doll in Illinois and remove it from shelves.
However, Smith said she spotted the doll still on sale in stores a few days later.
When the state sought an explanation, Smith said, the company switched positions, saying it would not recall those already on shelves.
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Ty's chief operating officer, Scott Wehrs, declined to comment.
Ty representatives have said the company is not violating state law because federal rules supersede it. While the state bans vinyl toys that contain more than 600 parts per million of lead, federal law does not.
Both the state attorney general's office and the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission have said the Illinois ban is valid because states can adopt their own rules where no federal law exists.
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