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Bill to ban cadmium on Schwarzenegger's desk

September 17, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
There is a lot of pressure being put on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign a bill to ban the toxic metal cadmium from children's jewelry. A lot of that tainted jewelry comes from China.

Kids will be kids. While jewelry is supposed to accessorize their outfits, the young ones think they are also toys.

ABC7 found little Olivia making a meal out of her beaded necklace.

"She's two and a half and she puts everything in her mouth," concerned father Joshua Lurie-Terrell said. "Toys, clothing, what have you. How do I know the things she puts in are safe?"

State Sen. Fran Pavley led the charge in 2006 to ban hazardous levels of lead in children's jewelry, but the Santa Monica Democrat discovered a dirty industry secret -- that the replacement metal is not any safer.

"They simply substituted, in many cases, the use of lead for cadmium," Pavley said. "Cadmium is equally toxic and is a problem to children."

Cadmium ranks seventh on the CDC's list of the most hazardous substances in the environment. It is linked to cancers and developmental problems in young children.

Pavley and the Center for Environmental Health allowed parents to test their children's jewelry with an x-ray florescence machine and the cadmium levels were shocking -- from 500 parts per million to 24,000.

Pavley's proposal virtually bans cadmium, capping use at 350 parts per million.

"There's no way to really tell which stores will have it more generally than others," Center for Environmental Health spokesperson Matt Nevins said.

Olivia's blue beads were put to the test. While they did not have cadmium, they did have lead, lots of it, probably because it was made before the lead ban.

Needless to say, Olivia will not be taking them home.

"I thought I was being a good dad by paying attention to the food she ate, now, I have to pay attention to minerals with the toys she plays with too," Lurie-Terrell said.

Pavley urged Schwarzenegger to sign her bill banning cadmium so parents would not have to worry about it.

The costume jewelry industry backed off its opposition and is now neutral.


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