Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Reebok Fined $1 Million For Toxic Promotional Bracelet that Resulted in Child's Death

Despite high-profile recalls and more and more alarmingly toxic products making their way into the consumer marketplace, some promotional marketers still choose to avoid scrutinizing the sometimes dangerous materials used in producing custom branded merchandise.

In an altogether avoidable tragedy, athletic shoe and apparel giant Reebok agreed last week to pay a $1 million fine for distributing a promotional charm bracelet which resulted in the death of a four-year-old boy from Minneapolis. The fine is the largest ever paid for a violation of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. It sheds light on the dangers of the many cheaply produced promotional products distributed in the United States without proper testing or consideration of the damage they can cause humans and the environment. The charm bracelet (pictured above), was distributed as a free gift with the purchase of Reebok children's footwear. It included a heart-shaped pendent containing toxic levels of lead which was swallowed by the boy. The death resulted in a recall of 510,000 of the Chinese-made pendants that were distributed worldwide beginning in May 2004. Reebok denied violating federal law when it signed the agreement last week.