"There's nothing positive that you can say about this metal. It's a poison," Bruce A. Fowler, a cadmium specialist and toxicologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the AP. On the CDC's priority list of 275 most hazardous substances in the environment, cadmium ranks number seven.
To gauge cadmium's presence in children's jewelry, the AP organized lab testing of 103 items bought in New York, Ohio, Texas and California in November and December. The results: 12 percent of the pieces of jewelry contained at least 10 percent cadmium. The testing was conducted by Ashland University Professor Jeffrey Weidenhamer, who we named as a safety crusader in 2008 (see photo).
The CPSC has never recalled an item for cadmium—even though it has the authority to do so and over the past few years has received dozens of incident reports on cadmium in products, Gib Mullan, the CPSC's director of compliance and field operations told the AP.Here are some of Weidenhamer's findings:
- Four charms from two "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" bracelets sold at a Dollar N More store in Rochester, N.Y., measured at between 82 and 91 percent cadmium.
- Two charms on a "Best Friends" bracelet bought at Claire's, a jewelry chain with nearly 3,000 stores in North America and Europe, consisted of 89 and 91 percent cadmium
- Pendants from four "The Princess and The Frog" necklaces bought at Walmart ranged between 25 and 35 percent cadmium.