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Cadmium Concerns in Toys & Jewelry

February 4, 2010

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has expressed concern about cadmium in cheap metal jewelry, and has suggested that such jewelry and toys be taken away from children because of potential exposure to toxic metal.

In 2008, a federal ban was instituted on the use of lead in charms and jewelry. Many, however, have feared that some Chinese manufacturers simply began substituting cadmium, which is also toxic. The Associated Press reported high cadmium levels in bracelet charms and similar items in Wal-Mart and Claire’s stores, resulting in these products being withdrawn at those stores.

Cadmium can cause cancer and kidney problems. Typically, cadmium poisoning is associated with heavy industry workers, such as those involved in smelting ore or recycling batteries. Experts have not previously seen significant cadmium issues associated with children’s health issues. The president of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Inez Tenebaum, has suggested that children not be permitted to use cheap metal jewelry.

The problem has drawn the attention of Congress, where hearings are being requested, and legislation addressing the cadmium issue in jewelry and toys is being proposed.

Michael L. Roberts