T – 06– 18
Barbara A. Lee, Director
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 24, 2018
Jewelry Supplier Fined $1.6M for Repeatedly Selling Products with Illegal
Levels of Lead and Cadmium
DTSC Confiscated More Than 110 Styles of Noncompliant Merchandise
SACRAMENTO – In a case brought by the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and the Attorney General’s Office, a judge ordered a Los Angeles-based jewelry company to pay $1.6 million in penalties for repeatedly selling jewelry, including children’s jewelry, with dangerous amounts of lead and cadmium.
Luxy Accessory Inc. was found in violation of California’s Metal-Containing Jewelry Law following a DTSC investigation. The Department confiscated more than 110 styles of jewelry found to contain excessive lead and cadmium levels. In a prior investigation, DTSC found one pendant made with 80 percent lead. Some packages were falsely labeled “lead free.”
“Luxy routinely endangered consumers, including children, with seemingly innocent products that instead posed serious health risks,” said DTSC Director Barbara A. Lee. “This judgement sends a clear message that this deceptive, unsafe activity will not be tolerated, and violators will face severe consequences.”
The Metal-Containing Jewelry Law regulates the levels of lead and cadmium in jewelry in California by specifying materials that can be used and restrictions on lead and cadmium in the materials and the jewelry. For children’s jewelry, the thresholds are stricter.
Luxy has a history of violating the state’s law for the manufacture, distribution and sale of jewelry. In 2012, following a DTSC investigation, the Attorney General’s Office sued Luxy, and other jewelry distributors, for selling lead-tainted jewelry and making false representations about its merchandise. In 2014, the company was assessed $145,000 in civil penalties.
Subsequent inspections revealed that the company continued to sell the falsely labeled leadcontaining jewelry. In November 2017, DTSC placed the company’s products in quarantine. Later, a restraining order and subsequent preliminary injunction deterred Luxy from selling any toxic jewelry until the suit could be resolved. Ultimately, the jewelry was seized as evidence, and DTSC will ensure the jewelry is disposed of properly.
On April 12, 2018, Judge Stephanie M. Bowick issued default judgement based on the 20-page complaint, which was filed with the California Superior Court’s Central District in Los Angeles County. The complaint also outlines Luxy’s disregard for the Unfair Competition Act for its improper labeling practices. The complaint names Hyun Sook Kim, Luxy’s president and chief executive officer, and references other defendants whose identities are unknown.
More information can be found on our Site Project Documents page.
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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.