Lead and cadmium found in childrens' jewellery

Health Canada and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission have both issued advisory warnings toconsumers that excessively high levels of lead have been found in some children's jewelry products.

The U.S. advisory followed an investigation by The Associated Press that revealed some cheap jewelry imported from China and sold at major North American chains like Wal-Mart and Claire's were almost entirely made of cadmium, a heavy metal that is more toxic than lead.

In the AP investigation, 103 pieces of low-priced children's jewelry were tested for cadmium. In 12 of the items, the toxic metal made up at least 10 per cent of the metal components and in some cases, as much as 90 per cent.

Lead and cadmium are toxic metals that can have harmful effects on children's behaviour and development of children even at very low levels.

Health and consumer agencies in Canada and the U.S. are concerned that cadmium, which is a carcinogen, might be increasingly substituted for lead in inexpensive jewelry.

Health Canada advises parents not to allow children to suck or chew on any jewelry. If consumers suspect jewelry might contain lead or cadmium, they can safely dispose of it in their regular household waste.

Descriptions and photos of four such jewelry items are shown on the Health Canada website. They were identified during the agency's routine testing of children's jewelry to determine cadmium levels.

In 2009, Health Canada tested 41 pieces of children's jewelry for lead and cadmium, but it has refused CBC News requests to release the cadmium results.

Courtesy of MSN News


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First published January 2010

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