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Walmart jewelry for children made in China have been pulled from Walmart stores amid concerns of cadmium toxicity that were raised by an investigative Associated Press report that you can read here. According to the AP report, Chinese manufacturers have been using the toxic metal because they have been barred from using lead in children's jewelry. The AP report said that the most startling findings were found in Walmart jewelry for children, the tween chain Claire's and a dollar store.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reacted swiftly to the AP report by taping a keynote speech by CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum which will be given to the APEC Toy Safety Initiative/Dialogue in Hong Kong. In the speech, Ms. Tenenbaum gives manufacturers a warning to abstain from using heavy metals, "especially cadmium," in children's products. She urged Chinese manufacturers to be vigilant and to enact good manufacturing practices. 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.
ABC News reports that cadmium is a known carcinogen, can cause kidney failure and weaken bones. ABC News quotes Bruce A. Fowler, a cadmium specialist and toxicologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as saying, "There's nothing positive that you can say about this metal. It's a poison."
As a result of the press, Walmart has removed all suspect items that may contain cadmium from its shelves. Melissa Hill, a spokeswoman for Walmart Stores Inc., called the AP report "troubling." She said Walmart had a special responsibility "to take swift action, and we are doing so."
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