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Cadmium: California and the U.S. target toxic jewelry

September 12, 2010 |  8:31 am

A bill to ban jewelry containing detectable levels of cadmium  has passed the California Legislature  and awaits the signature of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) would ban sales of jewelry in California containing more than 300 parts per million of the toxic metal, which is a known cancer-causing agent.

Meanwhile, the federal government has moved to recall jewelry with cadmium and a bill to ban cadmium-laden jewelry is pending in Congress. The Los Angeles Times' Lily Kuo reports on the cadmium trade from our Beijing bureau:

The cupcake-shaped pendants came in shades of blue and pink, studded with rhinestones. Meant for little girls, they hung on simple faux-silver necklaces and cost as little as $8.

And they were potentially deadly, according to consumer advocates. This type of cheap costume jewelry made with the metal cadmium, which can be toxic at high levels, is at the heart of the latest "made in China" scare.

Read more: "Cadmium in Chinese Jewelry Raises Alarms."

-- Margot Roosevelt

Photo: At a factory in Yiwu, China, a worker assembles jewelry. Chinese manufacturers have begun substituting cadmium, a known carcinogen, for lead. Credit: Eugene Hoshiko / Associated Press