n 2007, it was found that toys produced in China contained high levels of lead, and that prompted a product safety clampdown in the United States. But recently, tests have shown that some Chinese manufactures have used an even more toxic metal—cadmium—to make children’s jewelry.
Children’s jewelry imported from China has come under the spotlight in the United States, after an investigation by the Associated Press found it contained the toxic metal cadmium.
Cadmium is a known carcinogen that can affect the kidney and brain development in children. Its effects are worse than lead—a metal that was at the center of a toxic toy scandal in 2007.
The Associated Press organized lab testing of 103 pieces of children’s jewelry in stores from New York, Ohio, Texas and California. The tests showed 12% of the pieces contained at least 10% cadmium by weight. A Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer charm had as much as 91% cadmium.
Chinese toys and trinket makers apparently are using cadmium—a metal that’s shiny, easy to work with, and cheap—instead of lead.
In the United States there are strict limits for lead levels in children’s products, but there’s no limit on the content of cadmium in jewelry.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said it will start an investigation on children’s jewelry imported from China.
Retail giant Wal-Mart and accessories chain Claire's—both of which sell jewelry found by the AP to contain cadmium—say they will voluntary remove the products from sale.