The inexpensive bibs, made in China and imported for Toys "R" Us by Hamco Baby Products, contained lead levels three times as high as the level allowed in paint, the Times reported.
The tests, funded by the Center for Environmental Health of Oakland, Calif., were conducted on bibs purchased from Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us stores in California. An independent test conducted by a laboratory hired by the New York Times of the same bibs purchased in Maryland found similar levels of lead, the Times reported.
Toys "R" Us released the following statement: "Our uncompromising commitment to safety has been, and continues to be, our highest priority. Because the products we sell are at the heart of our relationship with our customers, we require them to meet extremely high safety standards, including both federal government requirements and the even more stringent California Proposition 65 requirements. Our bibs are tested against those standards every six months by an independent testing facility and passed these rigorous tests, including as recently as May 2007."
According to the Times, the Center for Environmental Health earlier this year identified a brand of vinyl bibs sold at Wal-Mart as being contaminated with lead. Those bibs were also manufactured in China by Hamco.
Officials from the Consumer Product Safety Commission told the Times that their tests of baby bibs sold in the U.S. showed that lead levels, when present, were so low as not to pose any health risks to children.
The agency urges parents to discard vinyl bibs if they are ripped or damaged, but have not pushed for a recall of lead-contaminated bibs, the Times reported.
A spokesperson for Toys "R" Us told the Times that the company tested of the bibs in May and that the bibs "were found to be in compliance with safety standards for lead levels."