Sierra Club plans suit over lead-laden goods: WSJ

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Sierra Club has notified 10 U.S. companies that imported or distributed Chinese products with potentially hazardous lead levels that it will sue after 60 days, unless they report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Wall Street Journal said on its Web site on Sunday.

Among the companies, which were notified in the past week, are retailers Target Corp. and Dollar General Corp. and toy maker RC2 Corp., the Journal reported.

The Sierra Club and the companies were not immediately available for comment.

The Sierra Club, a U.S. environmental group, said in an earlier press release that it had put 10 companies “on notice” for failing to notify the EPA of health risks associated with their products, but that release did not mention a lawsuit.

“After discovering a problem with one or more of their products, the ten companies requested that the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission issue a voluntary recall, however, the companies failed to also notify the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as required by law,” the release said.

China, which executed a former food and drug safety chief last month for corruption and dereliction of duty, is facing a global crisis of confidence in its products.

In the United States, which is China’s most important export customer, safety problems with U.S. imports of Chinese seafood, toothpaste, pet food and livestock feed containing contaminated wheat gluten have sparked a backlash by consumers seeking stricter rules on food safety and labeling.