Shein isn’t the only company in the hot seat for links to lead.
A two-year-old California company recalled one style of children’s footwear containing more lead than federal regulations allow, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Thursday. Two models of the Otto Momo children’s sandal from Amazon-exclusive seller Kolan feature an inner layer laden with the chemical, which is “toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health issues,” the agency’s recall notice read.
The e-commerce giant sold about 100 units at $22 to $26 per pair between March and April this year in sizes 6-12. Kolan is offering a full refund to consumers who purchased affected China-made shoes.
Kolan seems to be one of many companies springing up to serve the yawning maw of Amazon’s sprawling consumer base and its hunger for low-cost goods. Data indicates Kolan incorporated in June 2020 in Foster City, Calif. Though its Amazon storefront only offers babies and girls’ footwear at the moment, the company’s U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) application suggests Kolan has much bigger ambitions.
The USPTO last year granted the company’s request to trademark the Kolan name for use on leggings, pants, socks, T-shirts, bottoms, gym pants, hoodies, jogging pants, sports pants, tops, yoga pants. The mark also covers a range of footwear beyond its current lineup, including ballet, dance, dress, leather, Oxford, rubber, running, beach, slip-on, and sport-ready shoes.
Kolan didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Kolan recall is just the latest imbroglio involving products sold though Amazon. The e-commerce giant’s most popular mattress is the subject of lawsuits claiming flame-resistant fiberglass inside Zinus bedding harmed several people. A Zinus rep, however, told Sourcing Journal that the company’s fire-retardant approach “is standard in the mattress industry across all price points.”
“The Consumer Product Safety Commission has found that this type of material is ‘not considered hazardous,’ and various regulatory agencies and authoritative scientific bodies have concluded that exposure to this type of material does not pose a risk of chronic health effects,” the spokesperson said.
Lead, meanwhile, continues to flummox product makers. An investigation last year of more than three dozen AliExpress, Shein and Zaful garments found one in five were contaminated with toxic chemicals including lead, phthalates and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.
Nathaniel Sponsler, group director of Apparel and Footwear International RSL Management, a multistakeholder organization working to reduce the industry of toxic chemicals, wasn’t surprised by the findings.
“It takes a concerted effort by brands to control their supply chains and keep these and other substances under regulated and/or voluntary limits,” he told Sourcing Journal at the time. “Newer, faster upstarts typically do not have very advanced or mature chemical control policies—they typically implement them over time as they gain more market share or increase sales.”