Importing goods from other countries continues to be a major part of the economy. Some goods are simply made better overseas rather than here in the states, but there are other times where importing isn’t the best idea because of products liability risks.
Federal and state officials have begun a new campaign to keep dangerous materials out of Chinese imports and warning Asian manufacturers not to use other toxins in place of lead in children’s jewelry. This products liability problem could potentially be fatal to children.
In some children’s jewelry made in China, cadmium is used in place of lead in some children’s jewelry. The San Diego personal injury lawyers at our firm believe that it’s unacceptable to substitute one dangerous material for another. Lead has been banned in paints since the 1970s, and the substitute used by the Chinese, cadmium, is known to cause cancer.
A law passed in 2008 created limits on lead in children’s products and caused factories to hurry to find a substitute. Cadmium prices dropped because nickel-cadmium batteries became obsolete, and some companies chose to go with cadmium for their products.
Cadmium is a soft, white metal that occurs naturally in soil. It is attractive to Chinese manufacturers because of its low price tag and ease to work with. Like lead, however, cadmium can cause children’s injuries — such as slow brain development in the very young.
Biting or sucking on the jewelry can expose children to cadmium, which can lead to some of its damaging effects like cancer, protein leakage in kidneys or bones that break by themselves spontaneously.
Lab tests were performed by the Associated Press on 103 pieces of inexpensive children’s jewelry sold at Walmart and Claire’s. Of those pieces, twelve items had cadmium levels of at least ten percent by weight. One piece had an astounding 91 percent and others contained more than 80 percent.
There are no cadmium restrictions on jewelry, so the products made with cadmium are sold legally. The federal government hasn’t issued recalls for items made with cadmium even though complaints have been made for about two years.
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