Cadmium in Kids Jewelry: Thanks, China!

homemade child's necklace

Homemade necklaces are much safer.

Photo by bishop96

There's something irresistibly delicious looking about little kids' jewelry that even makes 5 year olds, who are old enough to know better not to put that crap in their mouths, want to, well, put it in their mouths. Suck on it like it's a lifesaver. Unconsciously try to wriggle their tongue through the opening of the ring while staring at the TV.

I get it. I'm a wedding ring twirler. It helps me think. But the latest news about children's jewelry being made with the poison cadmium has me a bit concerned for my daughter's oral fetishes. Simply sucking or mouthing a  ring or charm bracelet made with cadmium is enough to expose the child over time.


The Associated Press did a huge investigation into kids' jewelry made in China recently. It found that upward of 90 percent of the total weight of certain pieces of jewelry on the US market are made with cadmium, which is worse than lead, some experts say.

The AP, which used lab analysis to prove their findings, found large concentrations of cadmium in a lot of the jewelry sold at Walmart, in Princess and the Frog trinkets, the jewelry store chain Claire's, and certain dollar stores.

Cadmium, a naturally occuring heavy metal, is bad news. Like lead, it affects the nervous system, and direct exposure can lead to build up in the kidneys, cause cancer, and lead to bones that spontaneously snap.

It's the 7th worst material on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's List of Most Hazardous Substances in the Environment. The AP story says that if these trinkets were painted toys, they would face a recall. But there are no restrictions on cadmium in jewelry, according to the AP.

Okay, so we don't have a lab team at home to help us. I'm pretty sure Hello Kitty rings do not come with a tag that lists the cadmium content. What are we parents to do?

a) Confiscate all their kids' play jewelry.

b) Buy them "real" jewelry made of sterling silver or other safe metal.

c) Not worry about it.

Does your young child still suck on or put trinkets and play jewelry in their mouths? What course of action will you take as a result of this news?

Read More >