Lead Reebok charm kills Minneapolis toddler
A 4-year-old goes to the hospital with vomiting, and is dead of lead poisoning days later. The culprit, revealed in X-ray, is a swallowed charm from a bracelet that accompanied a pair of sneakers. Turned out to be 99.1% lead.
Via the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report:
This report describes the death of a child from acute lead poisoning caused by lead encephalopathy after ingestion of a heart-shaped metallic charm containing lead; the charm had been attached to a metal bracelet provided as a free gift with the purchase of shoes manufactured by Reebok International Ltd. On March 23, a voluntary recall of 300,000 heart-shaped charm bracelets was announced by CPSC and Reebok† (Figure). Health-care providers should consider lead poisoning in young children with increased intracranial pressure, unexplained and prolonged gastric symptoms, or a history of mouthing or ingesting nonfood items. Health-care providers also should warn caregivers against allowing children to mouth any metal objects.
[Death of a Child After Ingestion of a Metallic Charm --- Minnesota, 2006]
Subsequent tests of charms from different sales locations showed an extreme variation in lead content -- from .004% up to 67% by weight. I guess the real question is why there was any lead in these things in the first place.