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Beware: Toxic Metals Found in More Children's Products

toxic children's productsGoing back to school shopping is stressful enough without having to worry that the gear you’re buying is toxic!

Consumer Reports recently discovered “worrisome levels” of potentially hazardous metals in children’s products currently on store shelves, according to CNN.

In a report in its October 2010 issue, Consumer Reports says that after conducting tests of more than 30 products, it found that a metal-and-rhinestone hair barrette, a clover-shaped cell phone charm and a vinyl children’s rain coat contained heavy metals including cadmium.

How does this sort of thing keep happening?

Consumer Reports argues that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission needs to develop regulations to limit its use in children’s products.

 “The problem here is that young children in particular have a tendency to put jewelry in their mouth, a necklace, a little pendant, they have a tendency to suck on it,” said Don Mays, Consumer Reports’ senior director of product safety and technical policy

Lead levels in a green clover-shaped cell phone charm sold at the retailer Claire’s “caused the greatest concern,” according to Consumer Reports. The charms tested contained 100,000 parts per million of total lead — a quantity that would be illegal if it were considered a children’s product.

Earlier this year, Claire’s boutique stores issued a voluntary recall of about 19,000 bracelets following reports of high levels of cadmium.

Consumer Reports also found high levels of total cadmium in samples of a Revlon Couture Hair Accessory Barrette.

Earlier this year, Walmart recalled 55,000 necklaces after they were found to contain high levels of cadmium. McDonald’s also recalled 7.5 million “Shrek Forever After” glasses because there was cadmium in the paint.

A known carcinogen, cadmium has been found to hinder brain development in young children. Long-term exposure to cadmium has been associated with a variety of health problems, including kidney and bone ailments.  It does not have to be ingested to do damage — children who consistently suck or bite on items with a high cadmium content are exposed to low level doses.

The good news is that Walmart recently began testing for cadmium in kids jewelry, toys, crafts, bibs, pacifiers and other child-care items.

How to avoid toxic metals? Consumer Reports recommends buying newer products and passing on non-labeled products from yard sales. Also, don’t let your kids play with cheap metal jewelry and be sure to check your children’s products against government recall lists.

Are you concerned about lack of government regulation over toxic metals in children’s products?

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Should Bars Refuse to Serve Pregnant Women?

photo: flickr/shaggy359

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