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Hazardous Chemicals Found in Children's Jewelry

March 15, 2012

PHOENIX - A new study has found high levels of hazardous chemicals in a majority of children's jewelry purchased in a handful of states.

Kathleen Schuler, co-director of the group Healthy Legacy, says about 100 pieces of jewelry were tested for various toxic chemicals - including lead, arsenic, mercury and cadmium.

"They found that overall, 59 percent of the products had a high level of one of these chemicals of concern."

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says parents and caregivers should not allow children to be given or play with inexpensive metal jewelry, especially when unsupervised.

Schuler says the toxins found in these products can lead to serious health issues for children, from cancer to learning disabilities. Cadmium is a carcinogen, she says, and lead is a brain toxin.

"There's a huge body of literature showing that lead contributes to lower IQ, behavior problems, learning and developmental disabilities. And any level of exposure can cause harm to a developing brain, especially for young children."

Some federal laws address toxic heavy metals in children's products, Schuler says, but there are loopholes.

"The problem is some of these jewelry products aren't in a children's section and they aren't labeled for children, but they have images that are attractive to children. So kids buy them and parents buy them for their kids. And they could contain lead, because there is a gap in the current regulation."

The jewelry samples came from major retailers including Burlington Coat Factory, Target, Big Lots, Forever 21, H&M, Walmart and Kohl's.

More information is online at healthylegacy.org.

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ