WASHINGTON The government announced an 11th-hour recall today to warn consumers that fake Halloween teeth sold by the tens of thousands since last year contain excessive amounts of lead.
The $2 packages of "Ugly Teeth" are only the latest in a long line of Chinese-made toys and novelty items recalled because of lead. The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall on Halloween, in a late-morning news release.
The agency estimates that since January 2006, retailers have sold about 43,000 eight-piece packages of the party favors. There were no immediate reports of injuries or illness.
Amscan Inc. of Elmsford, N.Y., imported the fake teeth. A message left with the company was not immediately returned.
The federal agency worked quickly with Amscan to announce the recall, commission spokesman Scott Wolfson. Wolfson refused to say when the commission learned of the potential risk, other than to say it took "a matter of days" to negotiate the recall.
CBS News reported today that a chemistry professor at Ohio's Ashland University tipped off the agency about the joke teeth after testing a variety of Halloween-themed items for lead content. Paint on the teeth contained 100 times the allowable level of lead, according to the broadcast report.
Millions of Chinese-made toys have been recalled in recent months. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., this week urged the commission's head, Nancy Nord, to resign.
Pelosi said Nord has failed to see the gravity of the situation and continues to oppose Democratic efforts to double her agency's dollars and give it more authority. Nord said she has no intention of resigning.