The big story in recent years with many children’s products was the use of lead and the potential dangers exposure could cause children. Now, there are new concerns emerging after the Associated Press released details of a different toxic metal found in children’s jewelry that was sold at local popular retail stores like Walmart and Claire’s.
The toxic metal found in the children’s jewelry is cadmium, a known carcinogen. Chinese manufacturers who are no longer permitted to use lead have now substituted it with this even more dangerous heavy metal. The Center for Disease Control stated that like lead, exposure can lead to problems with brain development in addition to being a cancer causing agent. Out of the CDC’s priority list of 275 most hazardous substances in the environment, cadmium ranked 7th.
On Monday, Wal-Mart pulled products cited in the AP report from its stores in the U.S. which included three flip flop bracelet charms and four pendants from “Princess and the Frog” necklaces. Unfortunately, the retailer Claire’s was a different story. The AP reported two “best friends” charm bracelets contained 89-91% cadmium, and the reported response from the retailer was simply “Claire’s has its products tested by independent accredited third-party laboratories approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in compliance with the commission’s standards, and has passing test results for the bracelet using these standards.” The problem is that cadmium is not part of the CPSC testing for jewelry.
There are no recalls on these products because there are currently no regulations on cadmium found in jewelry. If these items were painted toys or industrial waste they would fall under current regulations; however, because they are used to make jewelry they are being sold legally.