Cheap Jewelry Finds New, Better Way To Poison Your Child

An AP investigation has found that, barred from using lead in children’s jewelry, some Chinese manufacturers have substituted cadmium — which is more dangerous. The AP tested one piece of jewelry that was 91% cadmium by weight. The heavy metal is a known carcinogen and is used in rechargeable batteries, pigments, electroplating and plastic. Children can ingest the cadmium by sucking or biting on the jewelry. They do not need to swallow it.

From the AP:

To gauge cadmium’s prevalence in children’s jewelry, the AP organized lab testing of 103 items bought in New York, Ohio, Texas and California. All but one were purchased in November or December.

The results: 12 percent of the pieces of jewelry contained at least 10 percent cadmium.

Some of the most troubling test results were for bracelet charms sold at Walmart, at the jewelry chain Claire’s and at a dollar store. High amounts of cadmium also were detected in “The Princess and The Frog” movie-themed pendants.

“There’s nothing positive that you can say about this metal. It’s a poison,” said Bruce A. Fowler, a cadmium specialist and toxicologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On the CDC’s priority list of 275 most hazardous substances in the environment, cadmium ranks No. 7.

In case you’re wondering why these tests have not prompted a recall, the AP says that there are no restrictions in cadmium in jewelry (only painted toys), and its perfectly legal to sell it — unlike lead which is now heavily regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. The AP says jewelry industry veterans in China say “cadmium has been used in domestic products there for years.”

You can read the full AP report here.

Toxic metal in kids’ jewelry from China [ABC7]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.