Throw Away Kid’s Jewelry From China, CPSC Head Says

Parents should throw away any <"">cheap, Chinese-made jewelry their children may have. That’s the warning, from Inez Tenenbaum, head of the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), who said the jewelry could contain hazardous levels of heavy metals, including cadmium and lead.

Tenenbaum’s warning, written in a blog post, came a day after the Associated Press reported that children’s jewelry from China was made with cadmium. According to the Associated Press, 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. Overall, 12 percent of 103 pieces of jewelry contained at least 10 percent cadmium.

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 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.

“I have a message for parents, grandparents and caregivers: Do not allow young children to be given or to play with cheap metal jewelry, especially when they are unsupervised,” Tenenbaum wrote on Thursday. Tenenbaum cited the Associated Press investigation in her piece, and urged parents and caregivers to take Chinese made jewelry from Children.

Following the publication of the Associated Press report, the CPSC said it would launch an investigation.

Unfortunately, the CPSC has no restrictions on using cadmium in children’s jewelry. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 set the first explicit regulation of jewelry, but that only applies to painted toys. And despite periodic complaints about the toxin over the past couple of years, the CPSC has never issued a recall because of cadmium.

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