WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced the recall of children’s “Best Friends” charm bracelets with high levels of cadmium. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued the recall on Monday. Cadmium is a carcinogen that, like lead, can compromise brain development in children. In February, Brown wrote to the head of the CPSC alerting her to the hazards of cadmium contained in children’s jewelry imported from China.
“This decision by the CPSC is a first step toward eliminating this harmful substance from children’s products, but more needs to be done,” Brown said. “We need to prohibit the manufacture, sale or distribution of all children’s jewelry containing cadmium.”
Sen. Brown’s letter urged her to enforce immediate regulation beyond voluntary standards to ensure that foreign manufacturers eliminate toxic substances such as cadmium from children’s products.
Cadmium is a soft, silver-white metal that typically is used to manufacture pigments and batteries and in the metal-plating and plastics industries. Cadmium is a known carcinogen and studies show that direct exposure has adverse developmental and reproductive effects and can lead to kidney disease, among other health problems. Infants and young children are particularly vulnerable to the dangerous effects of cadmium and other toxic heavy metals. Children’s growing bodies absorb these metals at much higher rates than adults and long-term cumulative exposure increases toxicity.
The recall involves “Best Friends” Charm Bracelets manufactured in China. “Best Friends” three bracelet sets are silver-colored chains with metal pendants containing one of the words “Best,” “Friends” or “Forever” and heart lock and key charms with different colored stones. The heart lock charms attached to the bracelets contain high levels of cadmium. The bracelets were sold at Claire’s stores nationwide from February 2009 through January 2010 for about $12. For additional information, consumers are urged to contact Claire’s at (866) 859-9281 or visit the Web site at www.claires.com.
Earlier this year, Sen. Brown cosponsored the Safe Kids’ Jewelry Act which would prohibit the manufacture and sale of children’s jewelry – including charms, bracelets, pendants, necklaces, earrings, or rings – containing cadmium, barium or antimony. Dr. Jeff Weidenhamer, a chemistry professor at Ashland University, released a study that showed a growing presence of cadmium in children’s jewelry as foreign manufacturers switch from lead – now banned in children’s products – to cheap substitute metals. Dr. Weidenhamer’s study tested 103 items from various states, including Ohio. Twelve of these items contained at least 10 percent cadmium, while two others contained lower amounts. The remaining 89 percent of items were clean.