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  • Cadmium Concerns back in the Marketplace

    This piece of jewelry sold attached to a child’s dress tested 984,000 parts per million or 98.4 percent cadmium. (Alan Berner/The Seattle Times)

    We’ve written about the dangers of cadmium in the past. Cadmium is a toxic metal that’s been the subject of many jewelry and toy recalls. Yet with all the media attention this metal has received, it still finds its way into countless pieces of jewelry, sold at popular stores throughout the US. These pieces are frequently found in children’s jewelry and on children’s dresses, as decorative pieces.

    “Of 27 pieces of jewelry packaged with dresses the State Department of Ecology randomly purchased last October and tested, five had extraordinarily high levels of cadmium and lead. Ecology purchased the dresses both in brick-and-mortar stores, and online. The dresses are marketed specifically to parents of young children — the very group at the greatest exposure risk, either from swallowing the jewelry, mouthing it or frequent hand-to-mouth contact.”

    As we know, young children frequently put jewelry in their mouths, but even hand to mouth contact can cause considerable harm.

    What’s is the harm exactly?

    Cadmium and lead accumulate in bone and soft tissues in the body and remain for a very long time. Cadmium can lead to cardiovascular, skeletal and kidney damage. Lead affects brain development and damages the cardiovascular, immune and reproductive systems. Both metals are toxic at very low doses.

    It’s time to re-examine those little adornments found on dresses (especially this Easter season) as well as any children’s jewelry. Know your source!

    Source: Seattle Times

  • The Cadmium Debate Continues

    Cadmium is a soft bluish metal.

    What is cadmium? Cadmium is a rare metallic element found in small deposits on almost every continent. It has a number of uses and it can be expensive due to its rarity. Cadmium is also toxic and should be handled with care. So how does it play part in the jewelry industry? Cadmium is often used in children’s jewelry. Health concerns have been raised and states continue to decide on appropriate guidelines:

    The U.S jewelry industry wants states to overturn laws that limit the toxic metal cadmium in children’s trinkets and adopt new voluntary guidelines it helped create, saying stricter rules in several states create chaos for manufacturers and importers.

    Persuading legislators to reopen the issue won’t be an easy sell: Many consumer and environmental advocates say the new guidelines weaken protection of children’s health.

    While the voluntary rules have the support of federal regulators, states that passed much stricter limits over the past year would have to backtrack and allow higher levels of a metal that can cause cancer.

    That didn’t sound likely Monday.

    “Maryland ought to set whatever standard we feel is correct,” said Delegate James Hubbard, a Democrat who successfully sponsored the nation’s toughest cadmium-in-jewelry limits this spring. “We made a judgment call based on what we felt was in the best interest of the people we represent.”

    A jewelry industry that has been hammered by more than a year of recalls and legal setbacks does have some momentum, now that the rules it drafted were passed last week by the respected organization ASTM International, which sets voluntary rules for a range of goods. Industry’s goal is to replace the current patchwork of regulation with a unified standard.

    “Our whole mission in this is to have standards that are not floating in quicksand,” said Brent Cleaveland, head of the ASTM subcommittee that wrote the rules and executive director of the Fashion Jewelry and Accessories Trade Association. He described the limits he oversaw as “way more conservative than necessary” to protect kids’ health.

    Cleaveland says his next move is to press legislatures in states that have set limits to reopen the issue and adopt the voluntary standards. If that succeeds, Cleaveland would then ask Congress to pass legislation to make the voluntary standard national law.

    If the industry lobbying effort fails, state limits that are much tougher than the voluntary rules will effectively remain the national standard. That’s because manufacturers that sell in places like California and Maryland would need to comply with limits there, and wouldn’t create different products for the rest of the country.

    Mandatory limits adopted over the past year already deter use of the heavy metal, which over time can also cause bone and kidney diseases, though there have been no documented deaths or serious injuries.

    Read more at Business Weekly.

  • The Dangers of Cadmium in Children’s Jewelry

    Cadmium is a soft, bluish-white metal. It is used in nickel-cadmium batteries, pigments, metal plating/coatings and stabilizers in plastics. In children’s jewelry, cadmium is used to make the jewelry coating shiny in addition to adding weight and mass. However, cadmium is also a toxic heavy metal and a suspected carcinogen. It can also cause severe damage to the lungs, liver, kidneys and nervous system if swallowed or inhaled.

    Illinois is the second state to ban the use of cadmium in children’s jewelry-making:

    The law, which goes into effect July 1, limits the toxic metal to 75 parts per million (ppm) in any surface coating or accessible substrate of jewelry. It requires companies to measure the amount of cadmium that can “migrate” or leach out of a sample of jewelry over a two-hour period, when the sample is immersed in a solution that simulates digestive acid.

    A similar cadmium ban was passed in January in Minnesota. However, the two laws differ in that Illinois specifies that children are “12 and under,” while Minnesota defines children as under six.

    Three other states—California, Maryland, and Connecticut—have also passed laws banning cadmium in children’s jewelry, but those laws will not take effect until 2012, in the case of California and Maryland. Connecticut’s law takes effect in 2014.

    Industry groups, including the MJSA, recently came together with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to develop a standard for children’s jewelry.

    That group produced a draft Safety Standard with recommendations on cadmium limits. If  adopted by the CPSC, the standard would likely supersede state cadmium laws and ultimately create a national standard.

    Source: JCK

     

     

     

     

  • The Dangers of Cheap Jewelry

    We used to think that cheap jewelry was only dangerous to good taste. But by now, many of us realize the potentially harmful components of jewelry, especially for children who love to put jewelry in their mouths.

    Read on:

    A non-profit organization called The Ecology Center ran tests on 99 pieces of jewelry (some of which was geared toward children but most of it was for adults) that were purchased from 14 different discount stores such from around the country, like Target, Claire’s, Glitter, Forever 21, Walmart, H&M, and Hot Topic. They checked each piece for dangerous things like lead, cadmium, chromium, nickel, brominated flame retardants, chlorine, mercury and arsenic. And, surprise, surprise, lots of the jewelry was full of nasty stuff.

    Over half of the jewelry, all of which cost less than ten dollars, had high levels of these hazardous chemicals, including 27 of the pieces which had lead levels which exceeded the 300 ppm limit for children’s products. Ninety percent of the pieces had chromium and nickel, which can cause allergic reactions, and ten percent of the pieces had cadmium, which is a toxic metal that’s been the subject of other jewelry and toy recalls. Some of the most toxic pieces they found included, “Claire’s Gold 8 Bracelet Set, Walmart’s Silver Star Bracelet, Target’s Silver Charm Necklace, and Forever 21’s Long Pearl Flower Necklace.” Take a quick scan of the jewelry you’ve got on to make sure none of these poisonous gems are making contact with your fragile epidermis as your read this.

    Source: Jezebel

        Cadmium – looks prettier than it tastes!

     

  • Lead in Costume Jewelry more than 1000 Times Limit

    We don’t think much about buying costume jewelry. It’s fun and easy to wear. It also sits on your skin, which is an organ, for hours at a time. And if your children are wearing costume children, they could be mindlessly sticking it in their mouths. Hence why it’s so disturbing to think so much lead (and cadmium–another dangerous component of cheap jewelry) is freely and easily passing through the marketplace.

    LOS ANGELES — California is cracking down on more than a dozen businesses accused of selling and distributing costume jewelry containing dangerous levels of lead despite repeated warnings.

    State investigators uncovered hundreds of lead-laced trinkets marketed to children and adults, including some pieces contaminated with lead levels more than 1,000 times the legal state limit.

    The state was expected to file a lawsuit Tuesday against 16 companies – retailers, wholesalers, suppliers and distributors – doing business in Los Angeles and elsewhere. The companies are accused of violating lead standards and engaging in deceptive practices by falsely advertising tainted jewelry as lead-free.

    For the past three years, inspectors at the state Department of Toxic Substances Control conducted spot checks at stores and factories, zapping necklaces, earrings, hair clips and tiaras with hand-held X-ray devices to check for lead. Items with high lead content were then shipped to a laboratory for detailed analysis. Jewelry items containing the toxic metal were mostly inexpensive.

    Brian Johnson, deputy director of enforcement, said these were not isolated cases.

    “You can walk into most any fashion jewelry business in the LA jewelry district and find similar violations,” Johnson said.

    It’s against the law to make, ship or sell jewelry that contains dangerous levels of lead. Children’s jewelry cannot contain lead content exceeding the legal state limit of 600 parts per million. For adults, the limit is 60,000 parts per million.

    Read more.

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