From Green Right Now Reports
Samples of inexpensive jewelry tested by a consumer group found that more than half of the products contained high levels of either lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury bromine or chlorine — all toxic metals or chemicals that carry health risks.
HealthStuff.org tested 99 pieces of jewelry from 14 different retailers, Ming 99 City, Burlington Coat Factory, Target, Big Lots, Claire’s, Glitter, Forever 21, Walmart, H&M, Meijers, Kohl’s, Justice, Icing and Hot Topic. The samples were collected from six states — Ohio, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York and Vermont. The findings revealed that:
- 57 percent rated a “high” level of concern, on the three-tiered ranking system, because one or more of the hazardous chemicals or metals were detected at levels determined by a matrix of factors to be above that considered safe by industry and government standards.
- 50 percent of the samples contained lead, with 27 pieces containing levels above 300 parts per million, the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) threshold for children’s toys and products.
- 10 pieces contained more than 100 ppm of cadmium, which is considered a carcinogen.
“There is no excuse for jewelry, especially children's jewelry, to be made with some of the most well studied and dangerous substances on the planet,” said Jeff Gearhart, Research Director at the Ecology Center and founder of HealthyStuff.org.
“We urge manufacturers to start replacing these chemicals with non-toxic substances immediately.”
Gearhart explained that studies have shown that children “who wear, mouth or accidentally swallow high-Cd (cadmium) jewelry items” can end up with the toxic metal in their systems. One study found that cadmium could be released and migrate from a product by coming into contact with sweat, much as it might in jewelry that rests on skin.
A 2011 study also found that lead in jewelry, if not properly plated or confined by non-leaded paint, can leach out, posing a hazard to children, Gearhart said.
An X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzer – a proven piece of equipment for detecting elements was used in the analysis, which was conducted by the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Ecology Center with HealthyStuff.org serving as the repository for the data. The scale on which the products were rated was developed using industry and CPSC guidelines. (See more here.)
Experts who conducted the testing explained their methods, and how these ingredients end up in consumer jewelry, much of it aimed at kids, in this YouTube video:
The two groups are urging consumers to be aware that their jewelry purchases could contain toxic ingredients, and to especially take care that young children do not have access to it.
“There is no excuse for jewelry, especially children's jewelry, to be made with some of the most well studied and dangerous substances on the planet,” said Jeff Gearhart, Research Director at the Ecology Center and founder of HealthyStuff.org. “We urge manufacturers to start replacing these chemicals with non-toxic substances immediately.”
The groups also are advocating for better regulation, noting that the Safe Chemicals Act (S. 847), introduced in Congress in 2011 to reform the Toxics Substance Control Act (TSCA), now has 15 co-sponsors.