Posted on Jan 14, 2010

An investigation published Sunday by the Associated Press indicates dangerous levels of cadmium have been found in children’s jewelry imported from China and sold at several U.S. retail stores, including Wal-Mart, Claire’s and dollar stores, additionally children’s jewelry made by Disney have also been found to contain cadmium. Cadmium is a carcinogen that has been linked to hindering brain development in young children. Recent research indicates that exposure to cadmium can cause learning disabilities and permanent loss of I.Q. Children are exposed to the cadmium by biting, chewing, sucking or accidental ingestion of jewelry containing cadmium.

Because Congress banned lead-laden toys in 2008, toy manufacturers have substituted cadmium for lead. Cadmium is banned in painted toys but not other products. This loophole in the law makes it legal to make and sale products containing cadmium as long as they are not painted toys. Unfortunately, AP reports indicate that exposure to cadmium is more dangerous than lead exposure and are linked to "cancer, kidneys that leak vital protein and bones that spontaneously snap."

The AP has also reported that cadmium is so toxic that if cadmium-laden jewelry were "if the charms were waste from manufacturing" it would qualify as hazardous waste. It is recommended that parent’s get rid of inexpensive children’s jewelry made in China.

Cadmium has been found in the following children’s jewelry pieces:

  • Princess and the Frog bracelet sold at Wal-Mart;
  • Three flip-flop bracelet charms sold at Wal-Mart in 2008;
  • Two charms on a "Best Friends" bracelet sold at Claire's; and
  • Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer charm bracelet sold at Dollar N More stores.

The Consumer Products Safety Commission has launched a formal investigation in addition to warning Chinese manufacturers substituting cadmium for lead. If you are unsure about your children’s jewelry, cadmium testing kits can be bought online.

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James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.