Senators call to add cadmium to list of banned substancesOn the heels of a new report showing that the toxic metal cadmium is being used in children’s jewelry sold in stores across the nation, six U.S. senators, including Al Franken (D-MN) have introduced legislation that will define cadmium as a banned hazardous substance.
By: Staff Report, Alexandria Echo Press
On the heels of a new report showing that the toxic metal cadmium is being used in children’s jewelry sold in stores across the nation, six U.S. senators, including Al Franken (D-MN) have introduced legislation that will define cadmium as a banned hazardous substance.
They said the measure will get cadmium out of children’s jewelry once and for all.
The report shows that cadmium is being used by Chinese manufacturers who are producing children’s jewelry that is being sold in the United States. While these manufacturers were previously using lead in their products, they have switched over to using cadmium instead of the safe alternative, zinc.
Cadmium is a carcinogen that has been shown to cause developmental problems in small children. Moreover, cadmium does not have to be ingested by children for them to be exposed; children simply have to suck on or bite the items regularly to be exposed to a high level of cadmium. The Safe Kids’ Jewelry Act will ban the use of cadmium and certain other heavy metals in children’s jewelry sold in the United States.
“This is a no brainer - we can’t let unsafe products from other countries poison our children,” said Franken. “We’ve already banned the use of lead in children’s products but now more and more manufacturers are using cheap metals like cadmium, barium, and antimony in its place. The Safe Kid’s Jewelry Act makes sure that these toxic metals don’t end up around the necks of our children.”
Reports indicate that China has been using cadmium in its products for years. Since the use of lead is now heavily regulated under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, manufactures have been using zinc as a safe alternative. However, it’s been shown that many children’s jewelry products exported from China have contained high levels of cadmium instead of the non-toxic zinc.
Federal consumer protection rules do not currently prevent these items from being sold in the United States. If the items were painted toys, they would face a recall. If they were industrial garbage, they could qualify as hazardous waste. But there is currently no cadmium restriction on jewelry so all of these products are currently legal to sell and purchase in the United States.
Last week, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a voluntary recall of 55,000 children’s necklaces made in China, sold exclusively at Wal-Mart retail stores nationwide between November 2009 and January 2010, because they contain high levels of cadmium. The recalled children’s jewelry is shaped as a metal crown or frog pendant on a metal link chain necklace in a crown-hinged box. The packaging includes the words “Disney” and “The Princess and the Frog.” The CPSC also has launched an internal investigation into children’s metal jewelry and the use of cadmium. Chairwoman of the CPSC, Inez Tenenbaum, is warning Asian manufacturers to stop using cadmium, which currently ranks number 7 on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's priority list of 275 most hazardous substances in the environment. The CPSC has received several complaints about the status of the toxic metal for the past two years.