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Lawsuits on the West Coast indicate the government’s recall this week of 90 percent of the toy jewelry sold in vending machines across the country for containing high levels of lead—the largest recall in history—may be the tip of the iceberg. The state of California is suing 13 major retailers, including Wal-Mart, Target, K-mart, and Sears, for failing to warn customers of hazardous levels of lead found in numerous brands of costume jewelry marketed to young children and teenagers. According to a June 23 Associated Press story, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said tests found levels of lead “well above” that which requires consumer warnings. Jeffrey Margulies, a lawyer for six of the retailers, points out that his case is unrelated to the recall. “We’re working with the attorney general’s office to determine whether any of the products are dangerous and, if so, how to respond,” he said. It is unclear whether Attorney General Eliot Spitzer plans to follow Lockyer’s lead; City Limits calls were not returned by press time. [07/12/04]

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