For six years I’ve been reporting on the dangers of lead found in children’s jewelry and toys—most of those items are made in China. Now the Associated Press finds Chinese manufacturers may be substituting another dangerous chemical—cadmium.
According to the AP’s report: “The most contaminated piece analyzed in lab testing performed for the AP contained a startling 91% cadmium by weight. The cadmium content of other contaminated trinkets, all purchased at national and regional chains or franchises, tested at 89%, 86% and 84% by weight. The testing also showed that some items easily shed the heavy metal, raising additional concerns about the levels of exposure to children.
Cadmium is a known carcinogen. Like lead, it can hinder brain development in the very young, according to recent research.
Children don't have to swallow an item to be exposed — they can get persistent, low-level doses by regularly sucking or biting jewelry with a high cadmium content.”
Studies show Zinc is the metal most commonly used as a replacement for lead in jewelry imported to the United States.
So what is a parent to do? The best advice is to do your best to prevent your children from placing jewelry and toys in their mouth. And after they play with items like that wash their hands.