March 23, 2006

Reebok Recalls Bracelets Over Lead Poisoning

NEW YORK -- Reebok International is recalling about 300,000 promotional bracelets after a child reportedly died of lead poisoning after swallowing one, U.S. officials said on Thursday.

The eight-inch-long metal bracelets, with a heart-shaped charm with the name "Reebok" engraved on one side, were distributed as gifts with the purchase of various styles of children's footwear.

The recalled jewelry contains high levels of lead, posing a risk of lead poisoning and adverse health effects to young children, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said in a statement.

The sporting goods company, which was acquired by German rival Adidas earlier this year, ordered the recall after it a received a report on the death of a 4-year-old child in Minneapolis, Minnesota, due to lead poisoning after swallowing a piece of a Reebok bracelet.

"The day we were notified that there might have been a connection between Reebok and this death, we aggressively began our recall process," Reebok's Chief Executive Paul Harrington said in a statement.

Separately on Thursday, the safety commission said discount retailer Dollar Tree Stores Inc. was recalling 580,000 necklaces and rings due to high levels of lead in the products.

The regulator said no incidents or injuries have been reported in connection with the Dollar Tree products.

The recalled Dollar Tree items include silver-colored rings and black cord necklaces with a silver charm, which were packaged as "Mood Necklace," "Mood Ring," "Glow in the Dark Necklace," "Glow in the Dark Ring," "UV Necklace" or "UV Ring." The items were sold from September 2003 through February 2006.

(Additional reporting by Christopher Kaufman, Julie Vorman)