Toxic Cadmium Found in Children’s Jewelry: Kids Jewelry Containing Carcinogens Sold at Walmart & Claire’s

Toxic cadmium found in kids' jewelry from China: AP | CTV News

Toxic cadmium found in kids' jewelry from China: AP | CTV News


A recent investigative report by the Associated Press showed that some Chinese manufacturers have been using high levels of cadmium in children’s jewelry exported and sold through popular stores such as Walmart, Claire’s and various dollar stores. With lead now being heavily regulated, cadmium has become the cheaper alternative and with few regulations in place, specifically with regard to jewelry, the products are finding their way onto U.S. department store shelves.

Lab Tests on Cadmium Levels in Children’s Jewelry

Chemistry professor, Jeff Weidenhamer of Ashland University in Ohio, has conducted several laboratory tests on jewelry items to test the levels of cadmium contained by weight. The gravest offender tested a staggering 91% cadmium by weight. Alarmingly, of the worse offending items, several came from Walmart shelves.

The report by the Associated Press coupled with the laboratory studies has urged federal authorities, particularly U.S. product safety, to quickly launch an investigation vowing to; “take action as quickly as possible to protect the safety of children”.

Cadmium is used in nickel-cadmium storage batteries and nuclear reactor shields. It is a silvery white and blue-tinged metallic element (Symbol Cd) that is toxic when ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin over a period of time. While there is no established fatal dose, as little as 10 mg can produce symptoms of poisoning.

Cadmium Poisoning Symptoms

Symptoms of cadmium poisoning include but are not limited to:

  • Choking
  • Vomiting
  • Anemia
  • Anal spasms of the sphincter
  • Abdominal pain
  • Emphysema
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Cancer

Long-term exposure can cause cadmium levels to build-up and remain in the body for years. It accumulates in the bones, liver and kidneys impeding their function. In some cases, it may interfere with calcium metabolism affecting the structure and density of bones.

List of Toys Containing Cadmium

Toys listed with cadmium content so far, include:

  • “The Princess and The Frog” movie-themed pendants
  • Three flip flop bracelet charms from Walmart
  • Four charms from two “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” bracelets from a Dollar N More
  • Two charms on a “Best Friends” from Claire’s

If you suspect that your child has any of these items, The American Association of Poison Control Centers at 1-800-222-1222 can advise you on health concerns.

For proper disposal of jewelry containing cadmium, contact your regional Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) office. They can inform you of the laws regarding hazardous waste.