In a year where several of Jamaica’s male juniors performed with distinction, two athletes, Christopher Taylor of Calabar High and Akeem Bloomfield of Kingston College, stood tall in the 400 metres. Taylor, who gave early signals at development meets early in the year with excellent times in both the 200 and 400 metres, continued his good form at the ISSA-GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Championships, where, in his first year in Class Two, he easily won the one-lap event along with the 200m and ran a brilliant leg in the 4×400 metres as Calabar clocked a record 3:06.76 to wipe out St Jago High’s one-year-old mark of 3:08.31. On the world stage, Taylor produced outstanding times. At the IAAF World Youth Championships in July in Cali, Colombia, he was just brilliant. After posting 45.30 seconds in his semi-final, where many thought he had gone out too fast and would have paid the price in the final, he went even faster in the final as he stopped the clock at an astonishing 45.27 to win the event and become the second-fastest ever at this level. Only American Obi Moore with his 45.14 in Santiago, Chile, in 1995 has gone faster. The 16-year-old Taylor (born October 1, 1999), who went sub 46 seconds four times in the year, was ranked number one on the IAAF Word Youth list and was sixth on the World Junior list for 2015. While Taylor was the talk of the town, Kingston College’s Akeem Bloomfield was not far behind. Competing in his fourth individual 400 metres of his career at the ISSA-GraceKennedy Championships in March, he created history in the one-lap event. Bloomfield (born October 11, 1997) dipped under 45 seconds in winning the Class One 400m in 44.93. In doing so, he became the country’s first junior to go sub-45 and, in the process, he shattered Davian Clarke’s national junior record of 45.21. Bloomfield, with that record-breaking performance, ended the year at number two on the IAAF list. Only Abdelalelah Haroun of Qatar was faster. Haroun, who had the seven-fastest times in the event, topped the list with his 44.27. Following these impressive 400m runs from Taylor and Bloomfield, all attention will now be turned to next year’s IAAF World Junior Championships as Jamaica could do something special in the 4x400m. With the likes of Martin Manley and Jaheel Hyde set to join Taylor and Bloomfield, the world record of 3:01.09 set by the United States in Grossseto, Italy, in 2004 could be in danger. Record-breaking performance
California Attorney General Jerry Brown on Monday sued 20 toy makers and stores – including Mattel and Toys “R” Us – accusing them of knowingly manufacturing or selling toys with illegal and dangerous levels of lead. The news follows major recalls of toys, lunchboxes, children’s jewelry and other goods in the last year by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in Washington. And it comes just as consumers start gearing up for the holiday shopping season. Officials with Mattel, the chief defendant in the suit, said the action was expected and predicted it would lead to more stringent safety standards. Because of the sheer size of the California market, lawsuits and regulations tend to have national repercussions. Brown filed the lawsuit, along with Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, at the Alameda County Superior Court. It focuses on safety improvements but also seeks financial penalties. “Mattel expected this development and believes that the attorney general’s assumption of this case will be beneficial to all parties,” the company said in a statement. “The use of paint with impermissable levels of lead by certain subcontractors was a clear violation of the company’s quality and safety standards.” Under Proposition 65 – known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 – businesses cannot expose individuals to hazardous chemicals without posting a clear warning. Under that law, 75 percent of the punitive damages would go to the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, the agency that administers Proposition 65. The rest would go to the Attorney General’s Office. “We have no expectation or goal” on how much money the companies might have to pay, said Tim Sullivan, a deputy attorney general. “We’re doing this to stop it from happening again. Penalties are part of the deterrent.” Among the companies named in the lawsuit are Mattel, Fisher-Price, Toys “R” Us, Wal-Mart, Target, Sears, KB Toys, Costco Wholesale, Eveready Battery Company, Kmart and Marvel Entertainment. Some companies are in confidential settlement negotiations – “and some are not,” Sullivan said. The attorney general’s office could settle separately with each company. Previous attorneys general have negotiated settlements to remove lead in candy, soda bottles, jewelry and other consumer products. Health advocates said they hope the lawsuit leads to better controls over what toys fall in the hands of children. “It could result in mandatory testing or mandatory monitoring requirements,” said National Health Law attorney Manju Kulkarni, who specializes in lead paint issues. “Ultimately, these companies are responsible. They stand to gain most when the toys do well, so in cases like this, they can lose the most in reputation and profits.” The lawsuit coincides with another organization’s call for Congress to ban lead in children’s toys altogether and to increase funding for the Consumer Product Safety commission. CALPIRG, a consumer advocacy group, is releasing its 22nd annual toy safety report today. “The discovery of lead is a serious health threat and it’s got to be addressed,” said Pedro Morillas, CALPIRG’s legislative advocate. “This lawsuit will hold companies accountable.” Brown launched his investigation into toy manufacturers and retailers after the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued recall notices for toys exceeding federal lead limits. Beginning with the recall of 1.5 million Thomas the Tank Engine toys in June, 46 toy products have been recalled for excessive levels of lead – totaling approximately 6 million toys this year. After the national recall, several private health advocacy groups alerted the attorney general’s office that they intended to sue. The attorney general, who has the option to take over these lawsuits or allow the complaints to continue independently, decided to take on the lawsuits. firstname.lastname@example.org (916) 441-2101160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “Companies must take every reasonable step to assure that the products they handle are safe for children and their families and fully comply with the laws of California,” Brown said in a statement. “Despite the lengthening global supply chain, every company that does business in this state must follow the law and protect consumers from lead and other toxic materials.” The lawsuit contends that companies knowingly exposed individuals to lead and did not provide warnings about the risks. Lead is known to cause cancer and reproductive harm, as well as other effects, such as learning disabilities in children. The lawsuit seeks to force manufacturers and retailers to adopt procedures for inspecting products to make sure they are safe. There is a statutory penalty of up to $2,500 for each item sold, officials said, though it is unlikely to reach that level. Los Angeles-based toy giant Mattel said the attorney general’s involvement would help steer the toy industry toward stronger safety standards.