Editor’s note: This story has been updated with details from Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s announcement at 11:47 PM on Thursday.
Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson has reached a resolution with Amazon to remove toxic school supplies from the Seattle tech company’s e-commerce platform.
The Attorney General conducted an investigation into products marketed to kids on Amazon.com and found “dozens of school supplies” with high levels of toxic metals. The state found 15,188 purchases from Amazon.com that involved products with illegal levels of cadmium and lead.
Ferguson said that Amazon would pay $700,000 “to fund future environmental protection efforts, including future investigations into toxic children’s products.”
Amazon earlier this year responded to the investigation by giving the affected customers $200,000 in refunds and encouraging them to dispose of the products. The toxic products included children’s school supplies and jewelry, such as pencil pouches, backpacks, lunchboxes, book covers, bracelets and necklaces.
“As a parent, when I buy products for my kids, I expect them to be safe,” Ferguson said in a statement. “All retailers must ensure that their products do not pose a threat to Washington children. If they don’t, they will hear from my office.”
Toxins are a persistent problem in classroom materials. A 2018 study by the US Public Interest Research Group Education Fund found traces of lead, asbestos, and other hazardous chemicals in several popular school supplies. Top offenders included Playskool crayons and scened EXPO markers.
Ferguson has worked with Amazon on big issues before. He sought the tech company’s support when he sued President Donald Trump’s administration over its travel ban in 2017.
Update: An Amazon spokesperson provided this statement to GeekWire following Ferguson’s announcement:
Customer safety is Amazon’s top priority. We work closely with our selling partners to verify that the school supplies and children’s jewelry in our store are safe and drive continuous improvement to our processes to verify the safety of these products. We welcome ongoing collaboration with the Attorney General and other agencies to promote customer safety.