U.S. Consumer-Safety Agency Moves Closer to Ban on Cadmium in Toy Jewelry

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, responding to a request from four groups led by the Sierra Club, moved a step closer to banning cadmium from children’s products, especially toy metal jewelry.

The agency is seeking comment on a petition asking for rules that would declare cadmium to be a hazardous substance, according to a filing to be published tomorrow in the Federal Register. The groups want the agency to ban cadmium using the same rules applied to lead, unless a safe level for the metal can be established.

Retailers such as Dress Barn Inc. and Claire’s Boutiques Inc. have recalled necklaces, earrings and bracelets this year after finding cadmium in the products. McDonald’s Corp. offered $3 refunds in June to customers who bought “Shrek” drinking glasses with high levels of cadmium in the paint.

“We are experiencing a rising tide of cadmium in children’s products,” the four groups said in their May request. “Like lead, it is starting with toy metal jewelry, most likely as a cheap, unregulated alternative to lead.”

Cadmium, typically used in batteries and metal coatings, can cause lung disease through brief inhalation of high concentrations, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

The groups in addition to the Sierra Club are the Empire State Consumer Project, the Center for Environmental Health and Rochesterians Against the Misuse of Pesticides. They cited concern that childredn can ingest the toxic metal.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Plungis in Washington at jplungis@bloomberg.net.

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