There is an important warning for parents about toy costume jewelry that was made in China.
Some popular costume jewelry made for children in China has tested positive for extremely high levels of the toxic metal cadmium.
According to an investigation by the Associated Press, some pieces of jewelry contained 80 to 90 percent cadmium.
The worst toys for cheap, toxic metals include:
- The Best Friends charm bracelet from Claire's Boutique
- Rudolph the Reindeer charms from the Dollar Store
- Flip Flop bracelets from Wal-Mart.
Both Wal-Mart and Claire's have pulled those products from shelves.
The U.S. bans toy's containing lead from entering the country. So many foreign manufactures substitute lead with cadmium.
It's a metal some argue is even more dangerous.
"Cadmium compared to lead is more toxic," said Jeff Weidenhamer, a chemistry professor at Ashland University. "It's a known carcinogen. It is highly toxic to adults and to children. There's recent research indicating that it affects the brain, learning disabilities and loss of IQ."
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is launching investigations into the matter. For now, they recommend parents take all cheap costume jewelry away from their children.
China's government is also investigating its largest export market.
"We just heard about this, and we will investigate," said Wang Xin, director of supervision in the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.
China has regulations limiting cadmium to tiny amounts in fashion jewelry and children's toys. Fashion jewelry should not contain more than 0.1 percent cadmium. In materials for toys, cadmium should not exceed 75 parts per million, or 50 parts per million for clay and paint.
The limits are comparable with international standards. But enforcement is still lax.
A metals expert in a Yiwu jewelry factory said some raw-material suppliers sell an alloy containing up to 90 percent cadmium.