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Dangerous Lead and Cadmium in jewelry

Updated on January 15, 2016
Silva Hayes profile image

Silva has a background as a technical writer. In addition to how-to articles, she writes about cooking, travel, and personal experiences.

dangerous lead and cadmium in jewelry
dangerous lead and cadmium in jewelry

This just in: Jan. 15, 2016. "Canadians who buy low-cost jewelry from popular fashion chains may be wearing products made with cadmium, a heavy metal that can be particularly toxic for kids. A CBC Marketplace investigation reveals some Ardene and Aldo Accessories jewelry manufactured in China contains thousands of times more cadmium than Health Canada says is safe for children."

Jewelry from China, made with toxic cadmium and sold at retail chains in the US including Wal-Mart, Justice and Claire's, has replaced the jewelry containing dangerously high levels of lead previously imported from China.

Like lead, cadmium adds weight and shape to jewelry and is cheap to use in manufacturing.

Recent lab testing shows that the cadmium in some children’s jewelry makes up as much as 90 percent of the item’s weight. The key is that cadmium is cheap to use. That is more important to the Chinese manufacturers and U.S. distributors than the health and well-being of children, including the children of China as well as the children of the USA and Canada. You will see what I mean when you read further about the recycling process.

A few moments of surfing the internet turns up a horrifying and cynical tale as we follow the way cadmium is used in the manufacturing cycle.

First it is used in rechargeable nickel-cadmium batteries and in pigments, electroplating and plastic. Cadmium and other toxic substances are inside all kinds of electronics.

When our electronics stop working, they either wind up in a landfill, where they poison our land, water, and air, or, if they are recycled, they are shipped to electronic waste scrap centers in China, where poor people including little children dismantle the electronics and salvage the parts, where they are melted down and turned into toxic children’s jewelry and shipped back to the US and Canada.

Now that is a hair-raising example of evil. Children in China are being poisoned as they salvage cadmium for a manufacturing process so that cheap children’s jewelry can be created and shipped to the US and Canada so that children on this continent can be poisoned by the stuff as well.

Children’s organs are still developing. A level of cadmium that may not be toxic to a healthy adult is toxic to children; the problem with cadmium is that it accumulates in the body. It can cause kidney disease, high blood pressure, and heart disease. It can contribute to brittle bones. It has been linked to lung cancer and prostate enlargement.

Children deserve the best chance possible to grow up healthy in mind and body. I am concerned that they are being subtly poisoned and many people aren't aware of it. People are so busy nowadays scrabbling to make a living and trying to keep their heads above water.

Parents, grandparents, and other relatives and friends, please take heed. Protect your children and their friends from this danger.

We cannot count on our government to protect our children. It takes too long to identify the danger and grind through the lengthy process of banning a product. Laws and regulations take time, time to research, to test, to propose, to finally become official. Chinese manufacturers watch the progress of these proposed regulations and stay one step ahead of them, just as they did with the banning of lead and the substituting of cadmium for lead.

Let’s band together and protect the children from poison that is cynically shaped into hearts and teddy bears and cupcakes and ballet slippers, contributing to profits made by heartless soulless manufacturers, exporters, distributors, and retailers.

US jobs have moved to China, where cheap labor manufactures what we want -- from clothing to electronics -- and what we can buy at "everyday low prices" at Wal-Mart and Dollar General. This vicious cycle has destroyed our economy -- and poisoned our children.

Check out these two press releases:

Consumer Watchdog Urges CPSC Back to the Drawing Board on Cadmium in Children’s Products

High Levels of Lead in Kids’ Products - Yet WalMart May Continue to Sell Tainted Items

We can use thought and creativity when buying gifts for our children and their friends. Please don’t take the easy way -- it is just too easy to run by Claire’s at the Galleria mall and pick up a cheap Best Friends Forever bracelet as a quick last-minute gift for a little girl's birthday party.

Don’t buy this stuff, and write your congressmen.

Let’s fight to ban the importing of cheap children’s jewelry containing cadmium and any other toxin.

When shopping look at the item, if it was made in China, skip it as it will only be dangerous to your health or your child's health. In the past, tires, candy, toys, wallboard, Baby Formula, electrical items and so forth have been recalled. The Chinese government does not care about life, just making a buck.

The US based importer/merchant SHOULD BE HELD RESPONSIBLE. The Chinese have no inspection infrastructure to guarantee component quality. However, Walmart makes billions in profits from sale of this crap. They could easily spot sample. They send buyers there. They can buy the testing tools while there too. The thought of a child sucking on a cadmium toy is tragic.

Thanks so much for reading this.


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