Friday, July 2, 2010

Carlyle Group's Cadmium Jewelry for Kids

The AP reported:

Federal regulators said Wednesday they have found high levels of the toxic metal cadmium in trinkets that were distributed for free to children at some doctor and dentist offices over the past five years.The news came as the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a recall of nearly 70,000 charm bracelets and rings.
Companies foisting toxic toys on children include Disney, Best Friends, Claire's. McDonald's and Walmart. Add The Carlyle Group's Oriental Trading to the list.

A spokeswoman for the ring importer identified by the CPSC in Wednesday's recall — Fun Express Oriental Trading Company, of Omaha, Neb. — did not return calls or and e-mail seeking comment. The Carlyle Group, a private investment firm that owns Oriental Trading Company, referred a request for comment to the company.
Oddly, Oriental Trading's website cites the recall of a Football Adjustable Ring. It reads like a BP press release, loaded with risk management language:

We were recently notified that a supplier issued a voluntary recall of our product 42/4359 Football Adjustable Ring because of the presence of cadmium in the metal substrate. This product has not been sold by Oriental Trading since last year and is no longer in stock.

The Football Adjustable Rings passed rigorous testing prior to distribution and we have no information to indicate that the item may present a hazard to children, and we firmly believe that the product is in compliance with all applicable safety requirements. However, our top priority is product safety and, as a precaution, we are voluntarily recalling the item.

Cadmium children's products originate in China, a favored part of the world for The Carlyle Group. The rings rated a 5 out of 5 on overall rating, price and quality. Customer reviews stated:

Great Quality--"I bought these for my son's 11th birthday as party favors. I love that they are metal and look nice. The kids all thought they were cool! Even the girls."

They were a hit!!--"The kids loved them!!"

Amazing!--"I have two nephews that play football. I am constantly ordering something new to support their teams. We are the Little Bears and the paw pride items such as tattoos, pencils and bracelets are fantastic!! I also purchased razzle dazzle beads in our team colors along with paw print charms. They were an instant hit! Keep these GREAT items coming!"

Carlyle affiliates and partners traded with deadly results before. They will again. Rest assured, we won't hear a peep. They have a good name to keep.

Update: Oriental Trading missed the grace period on its second lien debt and is in default. Carlyle looks to cram down lenders. Beware if the PEU shows up with football rings.