WCCO Gets the Lead Out

Viacom Inc.-owned WCCO-TV Minneapolis helped to prompt the recall of 150 million pieces of potentially harmful children's jewelry.

CPSC issued the recall Thursday, the largest in its history, in part thanks to information provided by a WCCO I-team investigation into levels of lead found in jewelry sold in area vending machines.

The station investigated after a young Oregon boy was diagnosed with lead poisoning after inadvertently swallowing a piece of jewelry he had gotten from a vending machine.

WCCO ran tests on other jewelry purchased in the area and found that the lead content was high.

Only about half the pieces recalled actually contained lead, but because it is tough to distinguish between jewelry from a number of suppliers, all were recalled.

According to the CPSC, the offending firms have agreed to stop importing jewelry containing lead.

The CPSC had actually begun its investigation before the May WCCO-TV piece.

Following its recall of 1.4 million pieces of jewelry related to the Oregon boy's poisoning, it began to look at other jewelry as well, according to CPSC spokesman Mark Ross.

Even so, Ross said that the WCCO-TV story was helpful. "We used its findings and it contributed to the recall," he said.

The jewelry was sold in vending machines in various stores, including grocery and department stores, and malls from January 2002 through last month. Parents should check out pictures of the recalled items at :


John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.