In 2017 and 2018 Washington state investigators found dangerous levels of lead and cadmium in children’s school supplies and jewelry. Over 15,000 people bought them through Amazon which sells these third party products on its site.
Lead and cadmium are especially harmful to children and can cause damage to the liver, kidneys, nervous system and other internal organs.
Amazon had been notified in early 2018 and said it had removed the products but investigators still found a few of the same products again in the fall of 2018 being offered on its website as well as a few others containing the metals at were way higher than the legal maximum.
This week, Bob Ferguson, who is the Attorney General for Washington state, formed an agreement with Amazon for its company to require all three party sellers of the children’s products to begin providing certificates proving the products safety and compliance with both national and state government consumer protection statutes. In forming this agreement, Amazon admits to no wrongdoing on its part.
Manufacturers and importers already must have these certifications but they have not been previously required to show proof of certification to retailers or distributors.
Of the 15,000 people who purchased the contaminated children’s products, 600 of them were purchased by Washington state residents.
After Amazon received notification in 2018 from the Washington state AG, the company took immediate action. A company representative said that Amazon’s top priority is customer safety.
To help continue investigations into environmental and product safety issues, Amazon, the commerce and technology giant, based in Seattle, WA, will pay AG Ferguson’s office $700,000 for funding the project.
The products were mostly made in China and sold through third-party merchants on Amazon. Third-party merchants have been becoming an increasingly important part of Amazon’s retail business.
China’s policies for product safety on manufacturing these products are more relaxed than that of the US standards reported Kelly Wood, who is an assistant attorney general in the Washington state environmental protection unit.
According to the Seattle times, “It is the responsibility of manufacturers and importers of these products to produce a Children’s Product Certificate (CPC), which must be based on an accredited laboratory’s test results and assure distributors and retailers of compliance with U.S. laws. These certificates are not typically signaled to consumers as part of a product’s packaging; instead, shoppers rely on the retailer, who must be in possession of the CPC.”