Toxic-jewelry ban squeaks through Assembly
Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), the bill's author, credited a January investigation by the Associated Press that found manufacturers in Asia were substituting the toxic metal because the U.S. had banned the use of lead in jewelry. "Cadmium is a known cancer-causing agent, and there is no reason for our most vulnerable citizens, our children, to be exposed to this highly toxic metal," Pavley said in a statement.Cadmium is a naturally occurring metal that, if ingested, can weaken bones and kidneys. Children can be exposed if they bite and/or suck on products containing it. The AP investigation found that some jewelry was as much as 91% cadmium by weight and that high levels of the metal could leach out.
Since then, necklaces, bracelets and earrings sold by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and the teen-oriented stores Justice and Limited Too have been recalled. McDonald's restaurants also recalled about 12 million Shrek-themed drinking glasses. Other U.S. companies have responded by announcing reviews of their own testing standards.Pavley's office said that at least four other states -- Connecticut, Illinois, Minnesota and Washington -- have banned cadmium at varying levels.
-- Associated Press
Photo: Small pieces of children's jewelry purchased at various Wal-Marts across the country earlier this year. Testing by Ashland University chemistry professor Jeff Weidenhamer showed that the jewelry contains cadmium. Credit: Phil Long / Associated Press