I've been carefully inspecting all of my children's trinkets. Both my kids, especially my daughter, love to wear toy rings, necklaces and other jewelry so the news last week from the Consumer Product Safety Commission has kept me more vigilant than usual.
CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum sent out a warning last week: “I have a message for parents, grandparents and caregivers: Do not allow young children to be given or to play with cheap metal jewelry, especially when they are unsupervised."
Her statement was issued after learning about an Associated Press investigation that found high cadmium levels in kids' jewelry items. Cadmium is known to cause cancer. Studies also show it can affect the development of a child's brain. It's a carcinogen that can lead to learning disabilities and permanent loss of IQ, according to Jeff Weidenhamer, a chemistry professor at Ashland University and one of the people who took part in the AP investigation. The jewelry items that were found to contain high levels of this toxic heavy metal included bracelet charms from Walmart and Claire's.
While searching our house, I picked up a necklace with a Tinkerbell pendant, some Mardi Gras-style beads, a few rings in the shape of snowflakes and a couple of bracelets that came in goody bags from a birthday party. I'm not overly paranoid about this, but I have seen my daughter wearing the necklace but with the Tinkerbell pendant in her mouth. I have no idea whether or not it contains cadmium but in an AP video, Weidenhamer said that there's no visible difference between jewelry made with the toxic metal and those that are considered safe. It's probably best not to take any chances. More than ever, I have become more aware of the kinds of toys we buy and bring in the house and their impact on our health and environment.
Are you getting rid of your children's toy jewelry too?