School supplies include items such as pencils, paper, folders, crayons, paste, scissors, and a number of other items that children can use at school or for other educationally-related purposes and projects. Children under the age of 12 years old are most susceptible to injuries, or death in rare cases, as a result of defective school supplies.
School supplies can be defective in a number of ways. Recalls of school supplies are typically issued when there is a choking hazard as a result of small parts, a laceration hazard due to sharp edges, or if the lead content in a product does not meet with regulations set forth by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Any school supplies manufactured and sold in the U.S. must comply with government safety standards and regulations as set forth by the CPSC for children’s products, including regulations regarding lead content. Any children’s school supplies determined to be unsafe by either the CPSC standards or the manufacturer of the product is subject to be recalled and taken off of the market.
While there are a variety of reasons school supply products may be recalled from the market, the largest reason is if the product contains a level of lead that is not in compliance with federal safety standards set forth by the CPSC. In recent years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted screening tests for elevated blood lead levels in children, and in 2006, of the over 3 million children tested for lead, approximately 7.5 percent had an elevated blood lead level.
Some examples of children’s school supplies that have been recalled and taken off of the market include:
In November 2007, Discount School Supply of Monterey, California, recalled approximately 20,000 shaving-style paintbrushes. The surface paint on the handles of the paintbrushes contained lead levels that exceeded federal standard regulations regarding lead content in children’s products. The recalled shaving-style paintbrushes were sold in sets of six 4-inch brushes with handles of purple, blue, orange, yellow, pink, and lime green. All other colors in brush sets of this type are not included in the recall. These brushes were additionally included with “Colorations Foam Paint Starter Kit,” and the “Biocolor Foam Paint Starter Kit.” The paintbrushes were sold in the Discount School Supply catalog, as well as on their Web site from May 2004 to August 2007. The “Biocolor Foam Paint Starter Kit” was available from May 2004 to June 2006, and the “Colorations Foam Paint Starter Kit” was available from July 2006 to August 2007.
In November 2007, Raymond Geddes & Co. of Baltimore, Maryland, recalled approximately 84,200 Children’s Pencil Pouches due to non-conformance of lead paint standards set by the CPSC. The zipper pull on the pencil pouches contains paint with a lead level that exceeded federal standard regulations for children’s products. “Bear Pencil Pouches” and “Stuff Keepers” pencil pouches were included in the recall. These pencil pouches were sold at school supply distributors across the nation from September 1997 to October 2007.
In April 2005, Baja Products Inc. of Delray Beach, Florida, announced a recall of approximately 145,000 units of “My First Crayon-Ball.” Included in this recall is the “My First Crayon Ball” Activity Set. The small, colored crayon balls can break off of the plastic base, which poses a choking hazard for children. Both items involved in the recall contain crayon ball colors of yellow, red, blue, green, brown, and black, and the activity set also includes paper scrolls with sketches for coloring. Both were available at discount stores and toys stores nationwide between June 2004 and March 2005.