By Brecken Branstrator
Los Angeles—A California jewelry distributor has been ordered to pay $1.6 million for selling jewelry with “excessive levels of lead and cadmium.”

The California Attorney General’s Office and the state Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) have secured a default judgment against Los Angeles-based Luxy Accessory Inc. and its owner, Hyun Sook Kim, the attorney general’s office said in a press release.

According to the release, much of the jewelry was intended for children and some was mislabeled as “lead free.” These constitute a violation of California’s Metal Containing Jewelry Law and the Unfair Competition Law, as well as unlawful advertising.

The judgment consists of $1.6 million in civil penalties and an order to comply with all statutes and regulations applicable to the manufacture, distribution or sale of jewelry in California.

“We’re holding Luxy accountable, as it should be,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said. “Lead and cadmium are highly toxic metals that can cause serious physical and behavioral health problems even at low levels of exposure. This is especially true for our children.”

This is not the first time Luxy Accessory has been fined for selling lead-laden jewelry.

The attorney general and DTSC jointly sued Luxy and a number of other jewelry distributors in 2012 for selling jewelry that contained excessive levels of lead. Luxy owner Kim did not respond to the lawsuit and ignored repeated attempts to contact her, the office said.

As a result, the attorney general obtained a default judgment against Luxy in 2014 for $145,000 in penalties and injunctive relief. It is unclear if this fine was ever paid.

This current case rose from subsequent inspections.

In November, inspectors from DTSC returned to Luxy’s warehouse to inspect all its jewelry for lead and cadmium using field screening devices.

There, they identified about 150 boxes of jewelry that were suspected to contain excessive amounts of lead and cadmium. The DTSC seized the jewelry in order to confirm.

In January, the attorney general’s office obtained a preliminary injunction against Luxy to stop the company from selling any more noncompliant jewelry.

The court issued the default $1.6 million judgment after Luxy and its owner failed to appear in court.

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