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Recalls What New Dangerous Metal Will Supplant Cadmium, Lead?

Posted Jan 18 2010 12:00am

With the Consumer Product Safety Commission telling parents to essentially toss – in a safe manner! – all that cheap jewelry your kids have acquired, the question becomes: what dangerous new metal will replace lead and cadmium?

As you probably heard, the toxic metal cadmium was recently found in some jewelry by The Associated Press. The CPSC, still behind the curve, is investigating.

Cadmium can cause pulmonary failure, cancer, kidney damage, anemia and discoloration of teeth, according to OSHA. It can also cause brain development problems in children, reports The Associated Press.

One of the tested items was 91 percent cadmium by weight. Twelve items that contained at least 10 percent cadmium were sold by Walmart, Claire’s and a dollar sore. The first two stores promised to stop selling the contaminated jewelry, but expect a new rash of recalls as the CPSC gears up its testing arm.

Of course, it’s unlikely the CPSC will ever get a handle on all the contaminated jewelry already in the hands of children. Even if the U.S. finds a way to crack down on cadmium, it seems likely that Chinese manufacturers will find new, dangerous ways to keep jewelry inexpensive.

Just as an example: the most common metal – and one of the cheapest – in the Earth’s crust is shiny, malleable aluminum. While not as toxic as lead and cadmium, it still can cause brain and skeletal problems if ingested by children, according to Wikipedia.

While it’s a bad idea to ingest most metals, some are worse than others. Plus some combinations, seem to be safer than others.

Still, I have little doubt that some new dangerous metal will show up on the market before long.

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