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Md. stores stop selling Elmo toy due to excessive lead paint

Big Lots Stores Inc. and Dollar General Corporation have ceased selling Elmo's Take-Along Card Games, a card game and backpack set, in Maryland stores after a Maryland Attorney General's office investigation revealed high levels of lead paint.

The state department of the environment tested the toys and discovered the high lead paint levels, and Attorney General Douglas Gansler followed with a letter to the two companies.

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Both stores agreed to stop selling the toys and to offer refunds to anyone who brings the toys back for a return, as well as post information in the store about the recall.

The Sesame Street toy was mentioned in several news reports last year about excessive lead paint levels in toys.

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According to a 2007 Hartford Courant article, the toy contained almost 10,000 parts per million in the Red Elmo bag. The federal recall standard of 600 parts per million.

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Update: the AG's office has also alerted the Consumer Product Safety Commission about their findings. 

Since these items showed up at the dollar store, it's all got to make you ask: what do people do with returned recalled toys?  

According to this Christian Science Monitor Q&A that answers the question about where recalled toys go:

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