Cadmium in Jewelry Gets Headlines Again

Feds muff kid cadmium in jewelry crackdown

— Justin Pritchard, Associated Press

Bureaucratic inertia, too much acceptance of industry claims, a small budget, and a small staff of inspectors combine to make the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s efforts to remove toxic cadmium-containing jewelry from store shelves less than effective. So says the Associated Press, that has just published the results of its investigation into the problem of cadmium in jewelry. In particular, the AP found that the federal government had its hands tied because it focused its efforts on children’s jewelry, and it’s too easy for a company to argue that its jewelry is not really meant for kids.

AT CEH, we’re also concerned that the toxic metal cadmium has shown up far too often in inexpensive charms, pendants, rings, and other metal jewelry components. We’re concerned about this because jewelry is something that many of us handle every day, and many children, teens, and even some adults put in their mouths. In 2010 we started a series of lawsuits with many of the companies that sell inexpensive jewelry. We now have legal agreements with 36 companies, including major retailers like Claires, Gap, Target, and Hot Topic, that set strict limits on the amount of cadmium in jewelry. To avoid legal technicalities about what does or does not qualify as “children’s jewelry,” we made sure that our settlements cover ALL jewelry sold by the stores in California.

The AP identified problems at small discount stores that are exempt from California’s consumer protection law that our legal work uses. We’ve also found hazardous jewelry at these stores. Even though it’s much harder to find jewelry with cadmium problems than it was before our legal work, we still recommend that you stay away from cheap metal jewelry, especially from smaller discount stores.