Feds Fail to Enforce Restrictions on Cadmium in Children's Jewelry
Two years after it was revealed that some imported children's jewelry contained the toxic metal cadmium, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has failed to implement federal restrictions on the material.
An Associated Press investigation revealed this week that the CPSC has not only failed to keep cadmium-based costume jewelry out of the hands of children, but it has also neglected to implement recalls on some of these products once the cadmium content was revealed.
"Despite touting its work as a model of proactive regulation, the agency tasked with protecting Americans from dangerous everyday products often has been reactive—or inactive," the AP reported.
The AP teamed with two independent consumer groups for the investigation, where representatives purchased cadmium-based jewelry in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Ohio and New York. Earlier this year, a separate investigation by The Ecology Center found that half of children's products tested contained one or more hazardous chemicals, with 47 percent containing some levels of cadmium.
The CPSC has admitted to finding products on store shelves that were hazardous by commission guidelines, but did not recall or warn the public about these items afterward, the AP found. "Agency staffers have consistently sided with firms that argued their high-cadmium items shouldn't be recalled—not because they were safe in the hands of kids, but because they were deemed not to meet the legal definition of a 'children's product,'" the article reported.
Twenty of 64 items tested contained at least 5 percent cadmium, with one item consisting of 85 percent cadmium. The CPSC was made aware of these items, but stated that they were not "primarily intended" for children, and therefore would not be recalled. There are no regulations on the amount of cadmium used in products for adults.