Problem With Summer Giveaway: More Info UPDATED
Highsmith's own testing confirms that the bendable cats and dogs have five times the lead allowed by law.
While I have not yet seen a Press Release from Highsmith about this (and didn't find one when I searched the Highsmith site earlier today) this information appears in the following news reports, which reference the Highsmith Press Release: Lead-contaminated toys being recalled and Library toys tainted with lead and National warning goes out about “criminal critters,” children toys with high lead amounts . This second article confirms that this includes toys sold by Oriental Trading.
Toy Risk Feared includes the following: "Worry about the toys began when Indiana librarian Stephanie Holmes learned Bloomington Hospital found high lead concentrations in a batch of the toys in 2005." So, apparently in December 2005 the lead problem was raised with one vendor, who discontinued the item; yet the items remained available via other vendors. Also, per this article, Fox Cities libraries recall lead-tainted toys, Highsmith's October 2005 tests said the toys were OK.
Other links: The State of Oregon has a press release that includes guides for parents and a parents.
Updated: there was some interesting discussion over at LISnews about the giveways. Check out this post in particular, which addresses the question of the primary distributor.
I haven't seen any press releases from Oriental Trading; and as of this morning, the company's Safety Page does NOT include these toys.
I also couldn't find info on this on Highsmith's page, but I am aware of the press releases the company have released (quoted above).