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New York attorney general sues Walmart, Target over lead in toys

Acting New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood speaks

Acting New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood speaks in Albany in May. Credit: AP/Hans Pennink

New York state is suing two of the nation's largest retailers and a third company for importing and selling children's toys with lead levels up to 10 times higher than federal limits .

State Attorney General Barbara Underwood said the lawsuit filed in an Albany court Thursday names Walmart, Target and Randolph, New Jersey-based LaRose Industries, importer of the "Cra-Z-Jewelz" jewelry-making kits that were recalled in 2016.

The lawsuit says the retail giants and the importer "committed thousands of violations" of state laws regulating the safety of children's toys sold in New York.

According to Underwood's office, it purchased a number of Cra-Z-Jewelz jewelry-making kits from stores on Long Island, in New York City and elsewhere in 2015 and 2016. Tests revealed that wristbands in several kits sold at Target and supplied by LaRose contained lead at levels of 120 to 980 parts per million –  above the 100 ppm limit, the office said. The AG's office said it also determined the kits were offered for sale by Walmart stores in New York.

The lawsuit seeks civil penalties and court-ordered assurances the toys won't be sold again in New York.

Spokespeople for Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart and Minneapolis-based Target both said the companies stopped selling the toys after the recall.

Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove said the company has discussed the matter with Underwood's office and will address the allegations in court. Target spokeswoman Danielle Schumann referred additional questions to LaRose.

LaRose had not responded Thursday to a message seeking comment.

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