Toxic-Free Fashion: CEH Gets Retailers to Remove Hazardous Chemical from Jewelry

OAKLAND, CA— Consumer advocate nonprofit Center for Environmental Health (CEH) has announced it has reached legally binding agreements with seven fast-fashion companies to remove the toxic metal cadmium from jewelry sold in stores and online across the country. Independent testing commissioned by CEH had found jewelry items sold at major national retailers, mostly at Ross, contained high levels of cadmium; many had metal components that were over 90% cadmium. Cadmium is listed under Proposition 65 by California because it can cause reproductive harm and cancer. It is unnecessary to use cadmium to make jewelry and retailers had previously failed to warn consumers about this toxic threat. These latest legal agreements add to nearly 20 companies that have agreed to reduce cadmium content in jewelry over the last two years.

CEH advocated for consumer health using California law Proposition 65, successfully protecting women of childbearing age and those with vulnerable immune systems. Almost 20 companies had violated the consumer protection law by failing to warn customers about this toxic threat. Now these companies have agreed to reduce the amount of cadmium in their jewelry to less than .01%, all but eliminating this cancer-causing chemical from their products. This work builds on the center’s previous work, whose experts and attorneys have deployed California law to force companies to reduce levels of harmful chemicals in other  consumer products.

In response, Research Director at the Center for Environmental Health, Caroline Cox, released the following statement:

“Cadmium is dangerous. Women buying and wearing jewelry shouldn’t be exposed to unnecessary chemicals on a daily basis, especially when these chemicals can cause long-term harm. We’re proud today of the work we’ve done to successfully litigate stronger protections for consumers.  Proposition 65 empowers consumers to hold companies responsible and force them to remove poisonous chemicals from their lives.”