Wal-mart and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled a keychain last week that contained an excessive amount of lead. The recalled keychain is believed to be responsible for an Illinois infant girl’s lead poisoning. An Ashland University Professor is now claiming that he warned the CPSC in 2006 about the lead in the keychain and that they did nothing with the information.
Weidenhamer, known for exposing high lead levels and triggering recalls for inexpensive consumer goods such as Halloween and Easter trinkets, purchased two different Hip Charm keychains from Wal-Mart in Ontario, Ohio, near Mansfield, in 2006. He tested them, along with metal jewelry items from various stores in several states, and prepared a study that was published in Chemosphere, an environmental chemistry journal. Then he alerted the Consumer Product Safety Commission in December 2006 to more than 70 items with excessive lead content.
About 20 of the items were subsequently recalled, he says, but not the Hip Charm keychain — even though his tests found more than 80 percent lead by weight in several of the charms. That’s much higher than the usual government standard of .06 percent lead by weight.
The little girl that prompted the recall, had a blood test at her doctor’s office that revealed the high lead level. An investigator was sent to her home to discover the source of the lead poisoning. While there the girl was mouthing her mother’s keychain. The keychain was then tested and found to contain more than 69 percent lead by weight. The professor maintains children could have been saved from lead poisoning if the CPSC had investigated his report. Lead poisoning causes brain damage.