Cadmium in the News

Cadmium, a transition metal with possible carcinogenic effects, has garnered a fair amount of press coverage of late, as it appears that foreign manufacturers are now using it instead of lead in the production of toys, including children’s jewelry. On January 11, 2010, Inez Tenenbaum, Chairman of the Consumer Products Safety Commission, issued a videotaped statement to be delivered to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Toy Safety Initiative/Dialogue in Hong Kong, in which she stressed that children’s products must be free of heavy metals. She also stated that voluntary efforts to ensure that children’s toys are free of cadmium might only be marginally effective. The CPSC reports that it continues to investigate this issue.

In a related news report , the Associated Press reports that New York Senator Charles Schumer (D – New York) intends to propose legislation in response to the reports of cadmium being found in toys manufactured in the People’s Republic of China. (See Senator Schumer’s January 13 press release on this topic here.). As quoted by the AP, Senator Schumer stated that his legislation, if passed, would “put an end to the use of cadmium in our children’s jewelry and toys once and for all . . . whether it’s made here or in China or anywhere else. It will just stop it cold.” The AP report also also referenced laboratory testing conducted by the news agency ” . . . on 103 pieces of low-priced children’s jewelry [which] found 12 items with cadmium content above 10 percent of the total weight. Some were as much as 90 percent cadmium.”

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