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Cadmium showing up in more everyday products

Friday, September 24, 2010

Millions of products have been recalled recently due to contamination with lead or cadmium. While government regulations restrict lead in children's products, cadmium is a newly recognized health threat in everyday products.

"Children's developing bodies are vulnerable to damage from lead and cadmium. And cadmium exposure over the long-term poses health risks to adults," said Consumer Reports' Bob Tiernan.

Consumer Reports, with the help of an outside lab, just tested more than 30 children's and household products that testers suspected might contain heavy metals.

"Most of the products did not contain potentially hazardous levels of lead or cadmium. But two were of particular concern," said Tiernan.

A cell-phone charm from Claire's Accessories had very high levels of lead, which could be hazardous if it's swallowed by a child.

Two Kidorable Bumble Bee raincoats purchased late last year had worrisome levels of lead. Kidorable says it has reformulated the raincoats and they're now labeled "lead-free."

"Our tests of coats labeled 'lead-free' found only low or trace amounts of lead, well below federal limits," said Tiernan.

But Consumer Reports says "lead-free" assurances are not necessarily a guarantee. Jewelry-maker Christine Canny says some beads she purchased from China were marketed as "lead-free," but when she had them tested it was discovered they contained high amounts of lead.

So despite tough standards on lead, Consumer Reports says potentially hazardous products are still making their way into the marketplace.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is currently working on restrictions for cadmium. As a general rule of thumb, Consumer Reports says don't let children play with cheap metal jewelry or even your keys. Brass keys can contain lead.

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