Three children’s necklaces were recalled this month because they contained toxic levels of cadmium, following an investigation by Minnesota state agencies. The investigation was part of an effort to enforce Minnesota’s Safe Toys Act.
The MPCA recently bought 89 children’s jewelry products online and from Minnesota stores, and found that three of them contained extremely high levels of cadmium, a toxic metal.
All three products were purchased from independent retailers on Amazon.com. The companies voluntarily issued recalls and provided refunds to Minnesota consumers. Amazon removed the online product listings and cooperated with the investigation.
Minnesota has several laws regulating toxic chemicals in children’s products.
Why is cadmium a concern?
Lead is tightly restricted in children’s products, so some companies use cadmium as a low-cost substitute. But cadmium exposure is linked to delayed brain development, kidney and bone damage, and cancer. It’s especially risky for babies and young children, who often put toys in their mouth.
Follow these tips to help keep kids safe:
- Don’t rely on appearance. There is no way to know if a product contains cadmium, lead or other toxic metals just by looking at it.
- Buy age-appropriate products. If you have small children, don’t give them jewelry unless it is specifically labeled for children 6 years and under. Adult jewelry is not subject to the same regulations, so it may not be safe for children.
- Look for product information. U.S.-made jewelry is generally safer. Avoid buying jewelry when there is no information about where it was made. Look for toxic-free certification. You can usually find more information by examining items in person at a store, rather than shopping online.
- Don’t let your child put jewelry in their mouth. Toxic exposure can come from biting, chewing or sucking on a piece of jewelry – or, even worse, swallowing it. If your child often puts items in their mouth, keep jewelry and other small objects out of reach.
- If your child swallows a piece of jewelry, seek urgent medical attention.
For additional health information, visit the Department of Health’s Toxic Free Kids Act webpage.