FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 13, 2010
SCHUMER ANNOUNCES LEGISLATION TO BAN TOXIC HEAVY METAL CADMIUM FOUND IN CHILDREN'S JEWELY- SOME SOLD IN ROCHESTER - METAL HAS BEEN SHOWN TO LEAD TO DEVELOPMENTAL PROBLEMS AND CANCERS
On the heels of a new report showing that the toxic metal cadmium is being used in children’s jewelry and toys sold across Rochester and the nation, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today unveiled his legislation that will define cadmium as a banned hazardous substance which will get cadmium out of children’s jewelry once and for all. The report shows that cadmium is being used by Chinese manufacturers who are producing children’s jewelry which are being sold in the United States. While these manufacturers were previously using lead in their products, they have switched over to using cadmium instead of the safe alternative, zinc. Cadmium is a carcinogen that has been shown to cause developmental problems in small children. Moreover, cadmium does not have to be ingested by children for them to be exposed, they simply have to suck on or bite the items regularly to be exposed to a high level of cadmium. Schumer’s legislation will ban the use of cadmium and certain other heavy metals in children’s jewelry sold in the United States.
“It is shocking and unacceptable that Chinese manufacturers are putting a deadly toxic metal that threatens our children’s health and well being into jewelry and trinkets that kids play with and chew on. It makes your blood boil. This has to end, and end now,” said Senator Schumer. “This new report shows that cadmium is not only extremely harmful to our children but also extremely common in children’s products across the United States. There is enough evidence about how dangerous this metal is that we must take action immediately so no more children are put in harm’s way. It’s time to get this toxic metal—and all others like it—out of children’s jewelry and keep it out.”
Reports indicate that China has been using cadmium in their products for years. Since the use of lead is now heavily regulated under the Consumer Safety Improvement Act of 2008, manufactures have been using zinc as a safe alternative. However, it’s been shown that many children’s jewelry products exported from China have contained high levels of cadmium instead of the non-toxic zinc. Unfortunately, current federal consumer protections regulations cannot prevent these items from being sold in the United States. If the items were painted toys, they would face a recall. If they were industrial garbage, they could qualify as hazardous waste. But there is currently no cadmium restriction on jewelry so all of these products are currently legal to sell and purchase in the United States.
Just recently, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) launched an internal investigation into children’s metal jewelry and the use of cadmium. Chairwoman of the CPSC, Inez Tenenbaum, is warning Asian manufacturers to stop using cadmium, which currently ranks number 7 on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's priority list of 275 most hazardous substances in the environment. The CPSC have received several complaints about the status of the toxic metal for the past two years.
But Schumer’s legislation would put an end to the use of cadmium once and for all. Schumer’s legislation will ban the use of cadmium in children’s jewelry sold across the United States.
Schumer added, “There is nothing more important than the safety of our children and this toxic metal poses a direct threat to their health and well-being. I will fight tooth and nail to ensure this legislation becomes law.”
Schumer has long been fighting to keep unsafe toys and products out of the hands of children. In August 2007, Schumer fought to pressure China to allow U.S. inspectors inside Chinese manufacturing facilities that produce U.S.-bound toys. In a letter to then Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Schumer expressed “grave concern” about the Chinese government’s inadequate response to the problem, which resurfaced when over 9 million Mattel toys exported from China were pulled from store shelves across the country because of lead-content problems. In September 2007, Schumer supported legislation to ban sales of imported children’s products if they aren’t first tested for lead content and certified by an independent group. And in November 2009, Schumer announced his new effort to ban BPA from all children’s plastic containers and canned foods.