Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Investigation reveals toxic levels of cadmium in children's jewelry

According to a study commissioned by the Associated Press and reported widely this week (here, in the Washington Post), some items of children's jewelry produced in China contain dangerous levels of cadmium, a highly toxic metal that can cause a variety of potentially deadly ailments, including cancer, kidney disease, and brittle bones. Harvard medical school professor Robert Wright noted that "[j]ust small amounts of chemicals may radically alter development," and can lead to serious learning and other developmental disabilities.

In response to the report a number of retailers, including Wal-Mart and Claire's, have pulled the items from their shelves. The Chinese government has also stated that it intends to probe the use of the metal.

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