State Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Santa Monica) has introduced a bill that would ban cadmium use in children’s jewelry in California. Pavley previously authored the nation’s first ban on using lead in children’s jewelry. She created the new bill after learning manufacturers are using cadmium in place of lead.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists cadmium as the environment’s seventh most hazardous material. The soft metal cadmium causes developmental issues in children.
“Cadmium is a known cancer causing agent and there is no reason for our most vulnerable citizens — our children — to be exposed to this highly toxic metal,” Pavley said. “It’s completely irresponsible for manufacturers to use cadmium in jewelry marketed to children.”
Pavley said less toxic metals, such as zinc, are reasonable alternatives.
After Pavley’s ban on lead passed in 2006, national concern over lead grew, resulting in a 2008 federal ban on lead use in toys and jewelry. However, the law allows for cadmium substitution in jewelry, even though simply biting or sucking the jewelry exposes children to dangerous levels of cadmium, said the Consumer Products Safety Commission.
“It’s a shame that jewelry makers are using a loophole in the law to harm our children,” said Pavley.
Pavley’s proposed bill would test cadmium levels the same way lead levels are tested in jewelry. Restrictions on cadmium are currently only upheld for painted toys.