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Restrictions on Cadmium in Jewelry Help to Protect Children From Injuries

It's fairly widely known that there are still problems with lead in children's toys. That issue has been around for several years, and it is not yet fully resolved.

Meanwhile, other dangers have appeared. One such danger that is cause for concern is cadmium in jewelry. Cadmium is a bluish-white metal that can become an environmental hazard. It is used in many children's jewelry and other trinkets and thus poses a risk of children's injuries.

Many states have passed restrictions on the amount of cadmium that children's toys can contain. The U.S. jewelry industry is trying to those limitations overturned and replaced by voluntary guidelines.

The jewelry makers argue that complying with so many different state standards is difficult for them. They would prefer a clear national standard.

Consumer and environmental protection groups are opposed to the proposed change. Their concern is that rolling back the limitations and replacing them with purely voluntary guidelines would put children at increased risk of harm.

The jewelry industry insists children's health would not be compromised. But there is a problem, in our view, with the concept of voluntary guidelines. If guidelines are totally voluntary, there is no clear penalty that jewelry manufacturers and importers would incur for violating them.

To be sure, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission could pursue recalls of products if it determines that they contain too much cadmium. That is often a cumbersome and time-consuming process. Until the products could be recalled, it would put children at undue risk of injury from toxic cadmium.

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