Toy Police Have an Unsupported Fear of Cadmium & Want to Ban it in Children’s Products

Recently the Associated Press ran a story about the metal content of a number of items of children’s jewelry made in China.  The AP tested some jewelry products and found that some of the items contained cadmium.  The article speculated that the manufacturers of these items substituted cadmium in place of lead because of the unrealistic minimum lead content requirement of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CSPIA).  The federal toy police, aka the Consumer Product Safety Commission, has been cracking down on companies that import and distribute or sell children’s products that do not meet the lead content testing requirements of the CSPIA.  Testing the lead content of every part of a children’s product is very expensive and impossible for many manufacturers of children’s products.  Many manufacturers cannot comply with the CSPIA and simply stop making children’s products.

Eight states are now considering banning excess levels of cadmium in children’s products.  These state are California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, and New York.  The only reason the states and the Consumer Product Safety Commission are considering regulating cadmium in children’s products is because of the January 2010 AP story.  From the beginning of recorded time up to the date of the AP story, the toy police haven’t cared the least about the level of cadmium in children’s products.  The reason nobody cared is because there are no scientific studies that have shown that “high levels” (what ever that is) of cadmium poses a danger to children who suck on products that contain cadmium.

Another Associated Press story called “N.J. Assembly bill tightens restrictions on toxic content in children’s jewelry,” makes the following unsupported allegation, “Cadmium is a known carcinogen, particularly when inhaled in a factory or other workplace.”  It then states, “The exact risks to adults aren’t clear because it typically takes long-term exposure to the metal to cause the diseases.”  The Handmade Toy Alliance CSPIA Blog says, “Cadmium, after all, is a naturally occurring element and is found in trace amounts in almost everything from carrots to carpet.”  See

Toy Police Recall Children’s Necklaces Due to High Levels of Cadmium

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, aka Toy Police, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product.  Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.  Name of Product: Children’s Metal Necklaces.  Hazard:  The recalled necklaces contain high levels of cadmium.  Cadmium is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects.  Incidents/Injuries: None reportedDescription:  The recalled jewelry is shaped as a metal crown or frog pendant on a metal link chain necklace in a crown hinged box.  The packaging has the words “The Princess and the Frog” on it.  See a related Associated Press story and a story in the Arizona Republic.

Note:  The Toy Police lacks the authority to ban products the contain cadmium.  There are no studies that have found cadmium to be harmful to children.  The reason the Toy Police are targeting cadmium products is because the Associated Press recently tested a lot of children’s jewelry products imported from China and found that some Chinese manufacturers are substituting cadmium inn place of lead in children’s jewelry.  Because the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act prohibits minute traces of lead in children’s products and the Chinese are using cadmium in place of lead, the Toy Police are mad and apparently want to show the public it intends to prevent American children from eating not just toys that contain lead, but also toys that contain unregulated lead substitutes such as cadmium.

John Rosen, MD, director of the lead program and chief of environmental sciences at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx, New York, sheds light on cadmium.  A story in the Washington Post stated the following:

Very little is known about cadmium’s potential health effects on children, Rosen says, because it’s never been known to be a problem, “Pediatricians don’t look for it, they aren’t knowledgeable about it, and there are not any particular concerns about it.”  While Rosen says, “It’s very good that

[this issue] has come up and come out, I’m very doubtful” that much harm is likely to ensue. “If cadmium does have an effect on children through this route [exposure to cadmium-containing jewelry], it would be kidney disease,” he says. But, he adds, this would constitute “virtually a new disease in American children.” . . . Rosen says that cadmium “is not more dire than lead…. It’s not known to have the effects that lead has on intellectual development.”  He says he knows of no credible research to the contrary.

Cadmium Facts: Is it More Dangerous than Lead?

Washington Post:  “What happened when the U.S. cracked down on Chinese imports of children’s toys, jewelry and other items containing lead in 2008?  Chinese manufacturers apparently just swapped out the lead for cadmium, another cheap, dangerous heavy metal.  While various government agencies and Congress debate what’s to be done about the recent influx of children’s jewelry containing cadmium, the presence of which was revealed by an Associated Press investigation released early this week, some major retailers, including Wal-Mart and Claire’s, have summarily removed the goods from their shelves.”

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