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AP Report on Cadmium Toxicity Spurs a Response

The federal government and retailers have responded very quickly to an Associated Press investigative report that found high amounts of cadmium in children's products such as cheap jewelry. Cadmium toxicity is a big concern since cadmium is known to cause cancer, kidney problems, hinder brain development in small children, and cause bones to weaken. The report caused possible items of harm to be pulled from the shelves of Walmart and Claire's

Retailer Response

Walmart removed items after the report found high levels of cadmium in its children's jewelry from manufacturers in China. As we wrote in the Injured blog, Melissa Hill, spokesperson for Walmart said: Walmart had a special responsibility "to take swift action, and we are doing so."

The Detroit News is now reporting that the other retailer named in the report is also pulling its cadmium laced items from shelves. The item cited in the report was a "Best Friends" bracelet sold at Claire's with charms attached to it. Claire's has removed the item from its stores and will offer store credit to customers who return the item. The Detroit News quoted a statement released by Claire's that said: "While we have no reason to believe that this product is unsafe, out of an abundance of caution, we are taking this action because we take our responsibility to our customers very seriously."

Government Response

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reacted swiftly to the AP report by taping a keynote speech by CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. She said: "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." The CPSC has started a formal investigation into children's jewelry and the presence of cadmium.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Sen. Charles E. Schumer (Dem-NY) wants to introduce legislation for a cadmium ban on children's products as early as next week. He was quoted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as saying: "It is just despicable that a manufacturer anywhere, in this case in China, would use something that's known to be poisonous to children and put it in children's jewelry to save a few bucks."

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