Amazon agrees to make sure kids’ school supplies don’t have toxic metals

Agreement comes after investigation found illegal levels of lead and cadmium in products marketed to children.

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Amazon is going to increase quality control standards on some kids' products.

Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Amazon has agreed to increase its quality control standards for school supplies and children's jewelry to make sure they don't contain illegal levels of lead and cadmium.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Thursday that Amazon agreed to the reforms after an investigation by his office found dozens of items that tested above legal levels for the toxic metals. As part of the agreement, Amazon has also agreed to pay $700,000, which will be used to fund future environmental protection efforts.

"As a parent, when I buy products for my kids, I expect them to be safe," Ferguson said in a statement. "All retailers must ensure that their products do not pose a threat to Washington children. If they don't, they will hear from my office."

Some of the items found in violation of laws prohibiting lead or cadmium in children's products due to health risk were decorated with cartoon characters, plush exteriors and bright primary colors. Some pencil pouches had parts containing more than 80 times the legal limit for lead and nearly 29 times the legal limit of cadmium.

When Amazon was informed of the investigation's findings, it encouraged buyers to dispose of the toxic items and issued more than $200,000 in refunds.

"Customer safety is Amazon's top priority," an Amazon spokesperson said. "We work closely with our selling partners to verify that the school supplies and children's jewelry in our store are safe, and drive continuous improvement to our processes to verify the safety of these products. We welcome ongoing collaboration with the attorney general and other agencies to promote customer safety."