LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A Los Angeles jewelry distributor and its owner have been fined $1.6 million for selling children’s trinkets tainted with toxic levels of lead and cadmium but mislabeled as “lead-free,” California state officials announced.
The default judgment against Luxy Accessory Inc. and owner Hyun Sook Kim consists of $1.6 million in civil penalties and an order to comply with all statutes and regulations applicable to the manufacture, distribution or sale of jewelry in California, according to state Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
“We’re holding Luxy accountable, as it should be,” Becerra said.
“Lead and cadmium are highly toxic metals that can cause serious physical and behavioral health problems even at low levels of exposure. This is especially true for our children.”
Becerra said he’s “seen firsthand how working families are too often the victims of the collective damage lead can cause to children. The California Department of Justice will aggressively prosecute those who violate our laws and jeopardize the well-being of our sons and daughters.”
In 2012, the Attorney General’s office and Department of Toxic Substances Control jointly sued Luxy and other jewelry distributors accused of selling jewelry that contained excessive levels of lead. Luxy’s owner failed to respond to the lawsuit and ignored repeated attempts that were made to contact her, according to the AG’s office, which in 2014 obtained a default judgment against Luxy for $145,000 in penalties and injunctive relief.
The present case arises from subsequent inspections.
In November, DTSC investigators returned to Luxy’s warehouse to inspect all of its jewelry for lead and cadmium. Using field screening devices, inspectors identified 150 boxes of jewelry suspected to contain excessive amounts of lead and cadmium, according to Becerra’s office.
DTSC seized the jewelry while conducting laboratory testing to confirm the violations.
The AG’s office obtained a preliminary injunction against Luxy in January to prevent it from selling any more non-compliant jewelry, and a judge issued the default judgment after Luxy and its owner failed to appear in court, regulators said.