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Reebok to Pay Record $1,000,000 Civil Penalty [03/18/2008]

Reebok to Pay Record $1,000,000 Civil Penalty for Violation of Federal Hazardous Substances Act

WASHINGTON D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that a manufacturer of athletic shoes and apparel has agreed to pay the government a $1,000,000 civil penalty (pdf). This penalty, which has been provisionally accepted, is the largest for a Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA) violation and follows a recall announced by CPSC and Reebok of 300,000 bracelets.

The penalty settles allegations that Reebok International Ltd., of Canton, Mass., imported and distributed charm bracelets that contained toxic levels of lead. The charm bracelets were provided as free gifts with the purchase of various styles of children’s footwear. In March 2006, a 4-year-old boy from Minneapolis who swallowed the bracelet’s heart-shaped pendant died.

The FHSA bans toxic levels of accessible lead in toys and other children’s products. CPSC’s enforcement policy urges manufacturers of children’s metal jewelry to keep lead content below 0.06% by weight.

“This civil penalty sends a clear message that the CPSC will not allow companies to put children’s safety at risk,” said CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord. “Preventing dangerous metal jewelry from reaching the hands of children is a priority for our agency.”

In agreeing to settle the matter, Reebok denies that it violated federal law.


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