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Another Danger from China: Cadmium in Children’s Jewelry

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Children’s jewelry sold at Wal-Mart, dollar stores and other retailers has been found to contain cadmium, a high toxic substance. According to the Associated Press, Chinese manufacturers likely switched to using cadmium in the jewelry because they are barred from using lead.

Overall, 12 percent of 103 pieces of jewelry tested by the Associated Press contained at least 10 percent cadmium. The most contaminated piece analyzed contained a whopping 91 percent cadmium by weight. Other pieces of jewelry tested at 89 percent, 86 percent and 84 percent by weight.

Some of the pieces with the highest cadmium content included bracelet charms sold at Wal-Mart, at the jewelry chain Claire’s and at dollar stores, as well as “The Princess and the Frog” pendants.

In some cases, the toxic cadmium shed easily from some pieces, increasing the danger to children. Kids can ingest the cadmium in jewelry by sucking or biting it.

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. In spite of its high toxicity, there are no restrictions on cadmium content on jewelry, and the sale of these products is perfectly legal.

According to the Associated Press, the Consumer Products Safety Commission said it would be opening an investigation into the matter immediately.

A day after the Associated Press published its report on cadmium tainted jewelry, a Wal-Mart began pulling the items cited in the report.

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