11/29/2005 6:00 PM
(Steve Levine, WROC-TV)
8 ON YOUR SIDE last summer randomly bought 8 soft lunchboxes and had the vinyl material tested for lead at a Rochester environmental lab.
A majority of the lunch bags contained traces of lead.
Two products, Spiderman bought at Target and Superman purchased at Wal-Mart had exceedingly high levels of the toxin which can cause brain damage and learning disabilities in children.
After our stories aired, Wal-Mart removed the products nationwide, Target took the items away across the state, and the attorney general's office began its own investigation.
"You guys provided real public service, and I thank you," said Attorney General Eliot Spitzer last month.
Now New York City distributor "Fast Forward L.L.C" has signed an agreement with the state to voluntarily recall 22 different styles of children's lunchbox products.
"I think that's exciting, I hope the message will get out", said Consumer Advocate Judy Braiman.
The company has also agreed to pay $7,000 in fines and penalties. Fast Forward will also establish procedures to prevent it from selling or distributing products that violate hazardous materials laws.
8 ON YOUR SIDE left messages with the company several times but they did not return our phone calls.
The products are not being recalled for health reasons.
Testing done by the Attorney General's office showed lead exposure released from the lunchboxes was below state health levels that put kids at risk.
But the state says the products did violate state environmental laws.
"Consumers have a right to know if a product they purchased contains a higher level of lead," said Assistant N.Y Attorney General Ben Bruce, they have a right not to choose that product."
"I don't care how they recalled it, as long as they did it", said Braiman.
8 ON YOUR SIDE has learned Wal-Mart, Target, Sears, JC Penney and Toys R Us, are among local retailers that'll take the products back in exchange for store credit.
The stores will give cash back if a customer provides a receipt.
All recalled products contain a "Fast Forward" label inside the interior.
There are no health standards for lead in vinyl products. But two lawmakers tell us, told 8 they plan to tighten restrictions related to lead in children's items.
"There should be a law on all children's products...protecting our young people, right now we don't have anything," says Braiman.
Lunchboxes can be returned at local Wal-Mart, Target, JC Penney, Sears, Toys R Us. In the New York City area: Value City, Rainbow Marmaxx, and RB Distributor.
Store credit will be given if customers do not have receipt.
Products can be returned through New York City Distributor "Fast Forward L.L.C", you must receive a refund request form through the Attorney General's office.
For More information call the state attorney general office at 1-800-771-7755
Customers have until February 28 2006 to request a refund
For pictures of the recalled products click below: