Cadmium Update as CPSC Issues Latest Recall

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"Best Friends Forever" jewelry, subject to recall

Washington–The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued Tuesday its sixth voluntary recall of imported children jewelry that were tested positive for high levels of cadmium.

The recall involves about 137,000 pieces of imported children’s jewelry sold at Justice and Limited including 19 different styles of necklaces, bracelets and earrings imported and distributed by New Albany, Ohio-based Tween Brand.

The CPSC said the jewelry, made in the shape of hearts, butterflies, cupcakes, peace signs, crowns and charms reading “Best Friends Forever,” sold for $7-$16 from November 2008 through February.

This recall was prompted by test reports submitted by the company itself. Tween spokeswoman Carrie Bloom said the recall was decided “out of an abundance of caution” after the company tested the jewelry.

No injuries have been reported in connection with this recall, nor with any of the others, which started in January with children’s jewelry sold at Walmart. In addition, recalls have also included about 12 million “Shrek” movie-themed drinking glasses distributed by McDonald’s. The other recalls targeted at least 200,000 pieces of jewelry, mostly for children, all made in China, the CPSC said.

Cadmium, a naturally occurring metal is commonly used in trace amounts in jewelry and handbag hardware manufacturing.  The fear is that children could be exposed to cadmium poisoning if they bite, suck or swallow products containing cadmium. While there are no federal standards regulating cadmium in jewelry, the CPSC applies a legal guideline that simply allows action against “hazardous levels,” without setting specific levels.

Industry Associations Urge Nationwide Standards

Industry representatives already have called for a review of the standards for cadmium in consumer products. The North Kingston, Rhode Island-based The Fashion Jewelry Trade and Accessories Association (FJATA), in fact, recently met with CPSC and other agencies to begin the standard development process administered by ASTM International, one of the largest voluntary development organizations in the world. Standards developed by ASTM for lead content in children’s toy was adopted by Congress in 2008. Jewelry and accessories associations would like to see a similar nationwide standard created for jewelry.

“Our industry has an unequivocal commitment to safety and quality,” said Michael Gale, FJATA executive director. “Science, not the news media, must be the means by which we assess the safety of our products.  For this reason, FJATA has urged the development of a national robust, science-based standard for all metals in children’s jewelry, including cadmium that builds on our members’ long-standing heavy metal testing protocol.”

Gale said the first voluntary national standard should address not only cadmium, but nickel and other hazards potential in children’s jewelry as well.

“We are pleased that the ASTM process has started to develop a voluntary national standard for children’s jewelry,” he added. “We will actively participate and look forward to working with CPSC, and consumer and industry groups to develop a science-based voluntary standard as quickly as possible.” For further information on FJATA efforts, check

By working with the ASTM process, industry leaders hope to curtail a piecemeal approach to regulations on cadmium levels like several states have passed or are considering.

Since the recalls began in January, nine states have introduced legislation aimed at regulating cadmium in children’s jewelry and both houses of Congress are considering legislation to regular cadmium.

The Attleboro Falls, Massachusetts-based Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America (MJSA) recently reported that Connecticut and Minnesota passed law bills regulating the cadmium levels in children’s jewelry.

The Connecticut law, which goes into effect July 2014, limits cadmium in any children’s jewelry to 75 parts per million (ppm), as measured by a “total weight” test. The Minnesota law, which takes effect in 2011, also restricts cadmium in children’s jewelry to 75 ppm, but measures the metal using a “migration test” referenced from the ASTM standard F 963.

MJSA has also reported that Washington State has rescinded a recent law, which had limited lead, cadmium, and phthalates levels in all children’s products, including jewelry. Washington canceled the regulations because it decided not to challenge the state preemption clause in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, a federal law passed in 2008 that set standards for lead in children’s products.

MJSA continues to monitor cadmium legislation on the state and federal level and frequently updates members chart various state measures. Check for updates.

CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson said Tuesday that agency staff is developing a “highly protective” standard for cadmium in children’s products, but he said it is undergoing scientific review.

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