Cadmium Found In Adult Jewelry, Group Says

We have been following news regarding the dangerous metal, <"">cadmium, turning up in children’s products. Now, the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) reports cadmium has been found in adult jewelry, as well.

As a matter-of-fact, said the CEH, the Associated Press (AP) just reported that the store, Catherine’s, is taking cadmium-tainted “breast cancer awareness” bracelets off its shelves. CEH also just notified four leading retailers—Saks Fifth Avenue, Justice, Catherine’s, and Aeropostale—that third-party laboratory testing determined that considerable cadmium levels were found in jewelry purchased from their stores this December and January.

Of note, 2009 legislation that was enacted in the state of Washington, banned cadmium in amounts greater than 0.004 percent in children’s products, said CEH.

Despite this, lab testing found that a cupcake pendant on a children’s necklace purchased from Justice as well as a pink ribbon “breast cancer awareness” women’s bracelet purchased from Catherine’s each exceeded the mandated cadmium levels by more than 18,000 times, said CEH.

Last year’s research review determined that cadmium exposure could be responsible for a large portion of recent rises in breast cancer diagnoses, said CEH. And, an AP report last month stated that there existed high cadmium levels in a wide variety of children’s jewelry and also suggested this increase in the use of cadmium could be due, in part, to increased and more stringent lead bans, leading jewelry makers to replace the one toxin for another.

Regarding the growing number of recalls due to cadmium, experts believe that
Chinese manufacturers likely switched to using cadmium in the jewelry because they are barred from using lead, the AP said. But cadmium is every bit as dangerous as lead and in addition to being a known carcinogen, the heavy metal can interfere with brain development in very young children. On the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) priority list of 275 most hazardous substances in the environment, cadmium ranks No. 7. Kids can ingest the cadmium in jewelry by sucking or biting it.

“Our legal action sends a strong signal to industry that we will not stand by while they play toxic flavor of the month with jewelry,” said Michael Green, Executive Director of CEH. “Cadmium is toxic at any age. There is no excuse for cadmium in any jewelry, and we intend to eliminate this health threat to women and children.”

Another recent review found that cadmium has the potential to affect reproduction at every stage of the reproductive process,” reported CEH, which includes sperm production issues, becoming pregnant, maintaining a pregnancy, and birth defects. CEH explained that a heavy metal, cadmium, in addition to being known to cause cancer, also causes genetic damage and kidney problems. The metal is so dangerous that a 2006 study concluded that children’s exposure to cadmium “should be limited as much as possible.”

Exposure can occur by touch an item with cadmium or sucking or swallowing metal pieces, said CEH. And, once exposed, the metal can remain in the body for over two decades, according to CEH.

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