Health Team

Toxin found in children's jewelry can cause disease

Posted March 8, 2011

A dangerous chemical lurking in some children's jewelry can cause kidney, bone, lung and liver disease, according to a new study from Ashland University in Ohio.

Cadmium, a toxic metal that is often used as a cheap alternative to lead, can accumulate in the body and is often associated with kidney damage.

"It's quite toxic to people and especially to children," said Dr. Philip Landrigan of Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. 

The study looked mostly at charms and pendants imported from China and found that children who put the objects in their mouth or accidentally swallow them can be exposed to as much as 100 times the recommended limit of cadmium.

Toxin found in children's jewelry can cause disease Toxin found in children's jewelry can cause disease

Several states have passed laws limiting how much cadmium can be used in costume jewelry, but North Carolina is not one of them.

Last year, Walmart pulled Hannah Montana jewelry from its shelves and McDonald's stopped giving away Shrek drinking glasses because they contained the toxin. 

The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that parents not allow their young children to play with metal costume jewelry.

Landrigan agreed.

"Don't buy cheap, imported jewelry because there is no way looking at it that a parent can tell (if) it contains cadmium or lead," he said.


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  • howdiditgettothis Mar 10, 2011

    Sadly, no one really knows what is made in the USA anymore.

    I have read that our government tests less than 1% of any product coming into the US.

    That is SCARY!

    I refuse to buy any fruits/vegetables that come from outside the US. Many of the chemicals/pesticides used outside the US have been banned in the US.

    Cadmium and lead have been found in plenty of child related items-- plenty of toys/jewelry from large manufactureres.

    I truly think more testing should be done before something enters the US.

  • stargirl66 Mar 10, 2011

    There is not yet scientific agreement on how much cadmium exposure is safe. That's the main reason only a few states are moving ahead with rules for cadmium content.

    At least two international health agencies are expected to publish recommendations this year, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission also is expected to issue voluntary guidelines for manufacturers.

    Susang919 makes a good point. Parents should not put their jewelry in their mouth any more than kids should.

  • baracus Mar 10, 2011

    "CaseyJayden, I believe Baracus was being ironic."

    Yes. I thought I was being sufficiently ridiculous that it would be obvious that I was not serious, but apparently not. See Poe's Law.

  • anneonymousone Mar 10, 2011

    Susang919, perhaps children could make their own costume jewelry from goods made outside of China. A fun place to look for supplies is the Scrap Exchange in Durham (and no, I'm neither a member nor an employee). The entire building is a treasure hunt!

  • anneonymousone Mar 10, 2011

    CaseyJayden, I believe Baracus was being ironic. My interpretation of Baracus's comment is that a lot of time and money is being wasted on fighting same-sex marriage, which is not a danger to anyone or anyone's relationships, instead of focusing on protecting people's health and well-being. I think Baracus is saying (and I agree) that saving children's lives IS more important than keeping adults who love each other from getting married.

    Baracus seems to be indicating that the state of North Carolina has its priorities wrong. Again, I have to agree.

    I buy very, very little from China. I have a great affection for Chinese people, but the Chinese government and industries seem reckless with the health of ALL people who use their goods. I do not think it is necessarily an anti-Western move; there is poor regulation and widespread corruption, and I can't support that.

  • hellacopters00 Mar 9, 2011

    susang: At most local festivals and fairs there are people selling jewelry made in the USA. It might be a bit more expensive than the imported junk, but your little ones are worth it!

  • hisgoddess2354 Mar 9, 2011

    baracus- so let me get this staight you would rather be doing something about gay marriage then saving the lifes of children. you need to get your prioritys right....

  • burnhace Mar 9, 2011

    Cadmium, element number 48 in the periodic table, is toxic, but it is not a "toxin". Look it up.

  • baracus Mar 9, 2011

    "Several states have passed laws limiting how much cadmium can be used in costume jewelry, but North Carolina is not one of them."

    I am sure we will get to that once we take care of the much more pressing danger of gay marriage.

  • AuntySocial Mar 9, 2011

    Like I've said before, China is out to get us. I won't buy any toys made in China.