CPSC Warns of Cadmium-Tainted Children’s Jewelry

An unknown number of Children’s Metal Charm Bracelets is being recalled, according to a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warning.

The bracelets, which were manufactured in China and imported by Buy-Rite Designs, of Freehold, New Jersey—which is no longer in business—contain high levels of cadmium. Laboratory analysis determined that following a 24-hour incubation in simulated stomach acid, over 20,000 micrograms of cadmium were released from the snowman (a charm on a bracelet) alone. Cadmium can be toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects.

This warning involves Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer brand children’s Christmas and winter-themed bracelets. The two styles involved in this notice are the Bumble Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The bracelets were sold with winter and Christmas-themed charms including a snowman, Christmas tree, candy cane, and snowflake and were sold at discount and dollar-type stores nationwide between 2006 and March 2009 for about $1.

The CPSC is urging consumers to immediately take these charm bracelets away from children and dispose of the jewelry. Although no incidents or injuries have been reported, to date, adverse reactions to heavy metals, such as cadmium, do not always immediately present.

Of note, this is not the first time news that cadmium was used by Chinese manufacturers in children’s jewelry has been reported. The ongoing problem has prompted action by two New York lawmakers. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, a Democrat, wants the toxic metal defined as a banned hazardous substance, while New York State Senator James S. Alesi, Republican-Perinton, recently introduced a bill in Albany to ban the use of cadmium in jewelry marketed to young children.

The legislative push follows the publication of an Associated Press report that found cadmium in 12 of 103 pieces of children’s jewelry and trinkets tested. The most contaminated piece analyzed for its investigation contained a whopping 91-percent cadmium by weight. Other pieces of jewelry tested at 89 percent, 86 percent, and 84 percent, by weight.

Chinese manufacturers likely switched to using cadmium in the jewelry because they are barred from using lead, the Associated Press said. But cadmium is every bit as dangerous. Cadmium is a known carcinogen, and 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.

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