ST. LOUIS -An independent laboratory reports that some of Disney’s “Hannah Montana” children’s products sold at Wal-Mart, Target and Toys “R Us are contaminated with high levels of lead.

The Center for Environmental Health said it bought 28 Hannah Montana products from retailers and online, and found nine with high levels of lead. The center tests children’s products, from lunch boxes to baby bibs.

The contaminated products include vinyl backpacks, a vinyl purse, a vinyl wallet and other products, the center says.

Officials at Disney, owner of the Montana character, deny their products have high concentrations of lead, saying their tests show the products fall well below government standards.

“We require all licensed producers of products using Disney characters to test their products and to comply with all applicable product safety laws and standards,” the company says in a statement.

But the Oakland, Calf.-based center says it found a Girls Rock backpack from and a Secret Star wallet from Toys “R Us had lead content of 1,800 parts per million to 8,300 parts per million. The federal safety standard for lead in paint is 600 parts per million.

Five vinyl products tested between three and 14 times higher than the federal paint standard, three other vinyl products tested above 200 ppm, and one tested at nearly that level, the center said.

“Millions of children idolize Hannah Montana, but parents should know that lead is a stunningly toxic chemical that shouldn’t be in products for children,” said Michael Green, executive director of the center.

There is no recall of the Hannah Montana products.

A spokeswoman at the Consumer Product Safety Commission said Friday the agency is investigating the report.

The CPSC is under fire from members of Congress and consumer groups following numerous product recalls, including many toys that were found to have high lead content. Legislation to strengthen the CPSC is before Congress.

For more information, visit ss(underscore)release.pdf

On Friday, federal regulators announced the recall of 13,000 Easter Egg Containers and Spinning Egg Tops for excessive levels of lead. The products were made in China and sold at Hobby Lobby stores nationwide.

(c) 2008, St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

AP-NY-03-21-08 2205EDT

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