Reebok will pay the government a record $1 million civil penalty to settle a case that alleged a lead-laced trinket given away with sneakers led to the death of a Massachusetts boy.
It is the largest Federal Hazardous Substances Act violation in history, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Reebok gave away heart-shaped charm bracelets with children's shoes and authorities believe a four-year-old died after swallowing a bracelet because it had high lead content. The incident resulted in a national recall of 300,000 bracelets. Reebok denies violating the federal law.
"This civil penalty sends a clear message that the CPSC will not allow companies to put children's safety at risk," said CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord. "Preventing dangerous metal jewelry from reaching the hands of children is a priority for our agency."
In high doses, lead poisoning can be fatal. More commonly, it can cause permanent brain damage, particularly in children and fetuses whose neurological systems are still developing.
No word on what, if anything, the family of the victim will get out of this.
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