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Conway: Rainbow stores in Kentucky sold contaminated costume jewelry

State officials said Wednesday that costume jewelry contaminated by high levels of lead, a health risk for small children, has been sold in Kentucky.

The brightly colored pendants and bracelets have been sold at Rainbow stores in both Lexington and Louisville, according to a joint announcement by Attorney General Jack Conway and the Kentucky Department for Public Health.

Officials in Conway's office are investigating to determine if such items have been sold anywhere else in the state.

Conway's office said it recently obtained samples of the jewelry and ordered tests, which showed that they were more than 80 percent lead. The samples contained as much as 894,962 parts per million of lead, or more than 2,000 times the maximum level that the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends for children's jewelry, officials said

Rainbow has pulled the jewelry from its stores and assured the state it won't sell any more in Kentucky, said Shelley Johnson, a spokeswoman for Conway's office.

Authorities say they think the jewelry was made in China, according to Johnson.

Conway's office began an investigation after the California Attorney General recently issued a "notice of violation" against Rainbow stores there for selling lead-contaminated jewelry.

A small child chewing on or swallowing an item containing the amount of lead found in some of the Rainbow jewelry could suffer acute or chronic lead poisoning, according to a statement from Dr. Susan Pollack, a pediatrician with the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center.

Symptoms of lead poisoning can range from abdominal pain and cramping to headaches and behavior or attention problems.

If you have purchased any of the jewelry, you should discard it, or store it out of reach of children in case it is needed for a refund, state officials said. They also recommend storing all jewelry and similar items not designed for small children to prevent possible lead poisoning or choking.

You can see pictures of the jewelry online at ag.ky.gov/multimedia/photos/leadjewelry.htm.

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