News Release

T – 02 – 15
Barbara A. Lee, Director


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 29, 2015

Contact: Tim Reese
(916) 956-2838
treese@dtsc.ca.gov

DTSC Takes Action Against Retailers Selling Tainted Jewelry

SACRAMENTO – The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced today the resolution of four cases involving Los Angeles retailers for violations of California’s tough laws aimed at protecting consumers from toxic levels of metals in jewelry.

The action levies a total of more than $200,000 in penalties against four retailers. DTSC and the California Attorney General received a judgment of $145,000 against Luxy Accessory, Inc. for multiple violations of the Metal-Containing Jewelry Law and for falsely labeling some of the jewelry as being lead-free. Businesses Outshine Inc., Sun’s Trading Co. and Costar Group settled similar allegations by DTSC and the Attorney General for $24,960, $22,000 and $19,830 respectively. DTSC and the Attorney General are also pursuing enforcement against Diva Designs and Seven Star International, with whom they currently are engaged in settlement negotiations.

This action stems from multiple investigations by DTSC in conjunction with the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) into the Los Angeles jewelry industry in 2012. Previous legal action was taken against 15 businesses that were alleged to have been supplying retailers or directly selling Californians tainted jewelry. The jewelry, most of which were discovered at Joia Trading, Inc., contained lead which is potentially toxic to people, especially young children. So far, Joia and the other businesses have settled with DTSC for more than $375,000 in penalties and related payments.

The complaints alleged that the businesses:

  • Violated California’s Metal Containing Jewelry Law
  • Made untrue or misleading statements
  • Made false or misleading advertising claims; or
  • Engaged in unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business practices in violation of California’s unfair competition law.

California law prohibits the manufacture, shipping, sale or offering for promotional purposes jewelry that contains excessive amounts of lead or cadmium. Exposure to lead can cause negative health effects ranging from behavioral problems and learning disabilities to organ failure and even death.

View the court documents here.

Links to previous news releases:
Settlement Reached in Tainted Jewelry Lawsuit
Bad Bling: LA Jewelers Cited for Selling Lead Tainted Jewelry

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FOR GENERAL INQUIRIES: Contact the Department of Toxic Substances Control by phone at (800) 728-6942 or visit www.dtsc.ca.gov. To report illegal handling, discharge, or disposal of hazardous waste, call the Waste Alert Hotline at (800) 698-6942.

The mission of DTSC is to protect California’s people and environment from harmful effects of toxic substances by restoring contaminated properties, enforcing hazardous waste law, reducing hazardous waste generation, and encouraging the manufacture of chemically safer products.