Make us your home page

Throw away your children's cheap metal jewelry

WARNING TO PARENTS: Throw away your children's costume metal jewelry. It could kill them if ingested.

It's the latest alert from health experts after recent studies and news investigations found the toxic metal cadmium in children's jewelry made in China.

The findings prompted stores such as Walmart to pull the jewelry from shelves across the country and federal consumer agencies to issue warnings and announce investigations into use of the metal.

Research by the nonprofit Center for Environmental Health and an investigation by the Associated Press found one in 10 pieces of metal children's jewelry contains cadmium.

It might seem drastic to throw away your children's lovable metal charms or the bling they so adore without knowing if it even contains cadmium. But here's the problem: Testing the jewelry for the metal would cost a small fortune compared with the price you paid for the jewelry in the first place.

"Based on our concern with lead in jewelry, we have basically urged parents to do away with children's jewelry," said Charles Margulis, a spokesman for the Center for Environmental Health in Oakland, Calif., which has been studying the issue of cadmium for two years.

"There's no cheap and easy way to detect whether it's there," Margulis said. "Our advice is simply avoid metal jewelry."

It's not wearing the jewelry that is the problem. Children often tend to suck on their jewelry and can swallow the metal. Cadmium is known to cause cancer and disrupt the reproductive system.

"That's the biggest hazard — swallowing it," Margulis said.

The Center for Environmental Health recommends using cloth or leather jewelry for children. Fine jewelry made of gold and silver pose no known health hazard to children.

Cadmium became the metal of choice after authorities restricted the use of lead in children's jewelry.

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, warned during a speech Tuesday in Hong Kong against replacing lead with cadmium, barium and antimony in children's jewelry. She said the commission is developing standards for use of heavy metals in children's products.

"Voluntary efforts will only take us so far," Tenenbaum said in a statement issued by the commission.

"All of us should be committed to keeping hazardous or toxic levels of heavy metals out of surface coatings and substrates of toys and children's products," she said.

The Associated Press also reported the Chinese government announced it would look into the use of cadmium in children's jewelry.

Walmart reacted to the issue with a written statement, promising its own review of the use of cadmium in children's jewelry.

"We will immediately remove from sale those items identified in recent media reports regarding cadmium while our own investigation is being completed, and until more is known. …

"Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our customers and associates. We will actively participate in the Consumer Product Safety Commission's investigation, along with suppliers and industry associations, to provide any assistance as they determine what the standards should be."

Ivan Penn can be reached at or (727) 892-2332. Follow him on Twitter at and become a fan of Consumer's Edge on Facebook.

Fast Facts

What to do with your child's metal costume jewelry

The nonprofit Center for Environmental Health recommends parents take steps to protect their children against cadmium poisoning, including:

• Throw away all heavy metal jewelry with the exception of fine jewelry such as gold and silver.

• Use cloth or leather jewelry instead of metal for children.

Throw away your children's cheap metal jewelry 01/12/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 2:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Culver's crosses into Brandon near Selmon Expressway


    BRANDON — Like many children, Theresa Hutchins recalls pleading with her parents to take her for ice cream.

    Theresa Hutchins and her fianc? Mike Carelli opened the Tampa Bay area’s newest Culver’s August 28 in Brandon at 2470 S Falkenburg Road.
  2. Back to life: Event helps Riverview revert to peaceful pace after Irma

    Human Interest

    RIVERVIEW — Robin and Ray Castell say establishing residency in the Winthrop Village was one of the best decisions of their lifetime.

    hillsbrandon092217: Meredith Tucker of Riverview, the mother of two children and another one soon on the way, browses the racks of Dot Dot Smile children?€™s clothing as company merchandiser Kelcie Schranck, standing behind her in the black shirt, looks on during the first-of-its-kind Recruiting the Community event on Sept. 17 at the Barn at Winthrop in Riverview. Photo by Joyce McKenzie.
  3. SEC says hackers may have profited from stolen info


    The Securities and Exchange Commission says its corporate filing system was hacked last year and the intruders may have used the nonpublic information they obtained to profit illegally.

    In this file photo, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman nominee Jay Clayton testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee. The SEC says a cyber breach of a filing system it uses may have provided the basis for some illegal trading in 2016. [AP file photo]
  4. Trigaux: For Class of 2016, college debt loads favor Florida graduates


    Florida college graduates saddled with student debt: Take heart. The average debt Class of 2016 Florida grads must bear is less than students in most states.

    University of South Florida undergraduates gather at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa for last fall's commencement ceremony. A new survey finds their average student debt upon graduating was $22,276. Statewide, 2016 Florida grads ranked a relatively unencumbered 45th among states, averaging $24,461 in student debt. [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  5. After Hurricane Irma, many ask: How safe are shelters?


    NAPLES — Residents of the Naples Estates mobile home park beamed and cheered when President Donald Trump and Gov. Rick Scott strolled amid piles of shredded aluminum three days after Hurricane Irma to buck up residents and hail the work of emergency responders. But almost nobody had anything good to say about …

    The Islamic Society of Tampa Bay Area opened its doors to anyone seeking temporary shelter during Hurricane Irma. Evacuees were housed in the Istaba multipurpose building and was quickly at capacity housing over 500 people. [Saturday, September 9, 2017] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]