11/22/2017 9:52:32 AM
SAINT PAUL – Three children’s jewelry products containing toxic levels of cadmium were recalled this month as the result of a joint investigation by three state agencies to enforce Minnesota’s Safe Toys Act. As the holiday shopping season begins, the agencies are also offering tips to Minnesota families about how to protect their children against toxic jewelry and toys.
Minnesota has enacted several laws that restrict and regulate toxic chemicals in children’s products. The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency established the Chemicals in Products Interagency Team to enforce these laws and encourage industry compliance.
Earlier this year, the Interagency Team launched a pilot investigation to identify children’s jewelry sold in Minnesota that may pose a health hazard due to toxic chemicals.
The Pollution Control Agency bought 89 children’s jewelry products, both in store and online. Laboratory testing identified three products with extremely high levels of cadmium, a toxic metal. The Department of Health determined that these levels represented a hazard to children, and the Commerce Department then conducted an investigation under the Safe Toys Act.
The three children’s jewelry products were purchased from independent retailers on Amazon.com. The Commerce Department notified the retailers that these products posed a toxic hazard to children and violated Minnesota law. The companies voluntarily issued recalls and provided refunds to Minnesota consumers. Amazon removed the online product listings and cooperated with the investigation.
The continuing investigation is focused on identifying the manufacturers and other retailers that may be selling the products.
Some companies now use cadmium as a low-cost substitute for lead, which is highly restricted in children’s products. But cadmium exposure is associated with delayed brain development, kidney and bone damage, and cancer. Babies and young children are at particular risk because they often bite, chew or suck on toys and other objects.
The three state agencies have a fact sheet on the investigation, with photos and information about the three products. It also includes consumer tips:
Don’t rely on appearances. There is no way to know if a product contains high levels of cadmium, lead or other toxic metals just by looking at it.
Buy age-appropriate products. If you have small children, don’t purchase or allow access to jewelry unless specifically labeled for children 6 years and under. General/adult use items may not have been tested as safe for children.
Look for product information. U.S.-made jewelry is generally safer. Avoid buying jewelry when there is no information about where it was made. Look for toxic-free certification. In general, you can examine jewelry items, labels and tags more closely in person at a store.
Don’t allow your child to put jewelry in their mouth. Toxic exposure can come from biting, chewing or sucking on a piece of jewelry – or, even worse, swallowing it. If your child often puts items in their mouth, keep jewelry and other small objects well out of reach.
If your child swallows a piece of jewelry, seek urgent medical attention.
For additional health information, visit the Department of Health’s Toxic Free Kids Act webpage.