NEW YORK A Minneapolis boy has died from lead-induced brain swelling after swallowing a piece of jewelry from sneaker company Reebok, the Minnesota Department of Health said Thursday.
The bracelet was a promotional item that came with a pair of Reebok athletic shoes.
Tests on the bracelet indicated that it was 99 percent lead, officials said.
A different charm, obtained by investigators from the same brand of shoes, was found to contain 68 percent lead. The safety threshold for lead content in jewelry is 0.006 percent, per the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
As part of their investigation following the boy's death, state lead prevention officials found that the Reebok Disco Queen II Casual Running Shoe Preschool and the Reebok Classic Leather Reptile Preschool were being advertised on a Web site with pictures of charms that matched the one swallowed by the boy, according to a local department of health statement. It was not clear which brand of shoe he owned.
The child, a 4-year-old whom officials would not name, died at the end of February in a Minneapolis hospital, said health department representative Doug Schultz. He added there have been no other reported lead poisonings in Minnesota.
Reebok announced the 300,000-item recall yesterday, just as health officials in the state were getting ready to go public with information about the child's death, Schultz told Brandweek today.
The recalled product is an 8-inch-long metal bracelet with a heart-shaped charm engraved with the Reebok logo, the Canton, Mass., company said on its Web site. Widely available in stores across the country, the Chinese-made trinkets were given away as a free gift with the purchase of various styles of children's footwear since May 2004. A call for comment was not immediately returned, but the Web site advised that the items should be immediately taken away from children.