By JEFFREY GOLD
AP Business Writer
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Toys "R" Us Inc. on Friday said it was removing all vinyl baby bibs from its Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us stores as a precaution after two bibs made in China for one supplier showed lead levels that exceeded Toys "R" Us standards.
Toys "R" Us, which operates over 1,500 stores, said the result came in testing this month of bibs supplied by Hamco Inc. and marketed under the Koala Baby, Especially for Baby and Disney Baby labels.
Tests of Hamco bibs in May were within standards, Toys "R" Us said. Vinyl bibs made by other companies have been temporarily removed to avoid any confusion among customers and allow further testing, Wayne-based Toys "R" Us said.
A message seeking comment from Hamco, based in Gonzales, La., was not immediately returned.
Childhood exposure to lead can cause learning problems, reduced intelligence, hyperactivity and attention deficit disorder, studies have shown.
Toys "R" Us, the nation's second-largest toy seller after Wal-Mart Stores Inc., said customers can return any vinyl bib purchased from a Toys "R" Us or Babies "R" Us store for a full refund.
Information is available at 1-800-869-7787. The bib removal is the latest in a series of recent problems involving imports from China.
Products including tires, toys, toothpaste, seafood and pet food have been recalled.
The action by Toys "R" Us came two days after a California environmental group said that some vinyl bibs made in China and sold at Toys "R" Us stores contained lead levels well above federal safety limits for lead in paint.
Toys "R" Us has said its May tests were prompted by Wal-Mart's decision that month to recall lead-tainted vinyl bibs from its stores nationwide.
Wal-Mart's recall came after a lawsuit brought by the Center for Environmental Health, the California group. Both the bibs sold by Wal-Mart and Toys "R" Us were manufactured in China for Hamco.
A statement issued by Hamco at the time of the Wal-Mart recall did not address whether their bibs contained lead but quoted an industry trade group statement suggesting that the risk of babies ingesting lead even if the bibs were tainted was slight.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a statement in May saying that the lead-contaminated bibs were safe if in good condition.
But if a bib "deteriorates to the point that a baby could pull or bite off and swallow a piece of vinyl containing lead, then the amounts of lead consumed could approach levels of concern," the agency said.