Why Do Jewelry Makers Get Off Easy With Cadmium?

Consumer Products Safety Commission lets industry police itself

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I wish I could just issue myself a ticket instead of dealing with police or worse – those pesky speed cameras.

That’s essentially what the Consumer Product Safety Commission is allowing jewelry manufacturers to do regarding levels of cadmium in their products. But I’m not talking about a measly speeding ticket here, I’m talking about exposing children to unsafe levels of this toxic metal. Cadmium is one of the  world’s most deadly chemicals and can cause cancer and neurological harm in humans. A child’s growing body is even more vulnerable to it’s deadly side effects.

Only this past spring CPSC acted aggressively after it was discovered that some Chinese jewelry manufacturers were using cadmium in their products – which was recently banned.

Agency Chairman Inez Tenenbaum kicked up a frenzy after warning parents to get rid of all cheap metal trinkets, and the CPSC even announced it’s first-ever recall of some Disney items sold at Walmart. Four more recalls followed and McDonald’s eventually recalled 12 million “Shrek”-themed drinking glasses. And now, months later, the CPSC is essentially deferring to industry itself. At the urging of businesses, the CPSC is looking for the industry to self-police through voluntary standards.

Nancy Cowles, of the group Kids in Danger stated the obvious problem with this method: she doubts manufacturers will police themselves.

Tenenbaum states that the CPSC considers the health of children and its scientific guidance is “highly protective of children.” A CPSC spokesman also stated that the agency had not abandoned the possibility of mandatory standards.

I only wonder what other toxic chemical will need to be found in products to warrant this possibility.  

Raviya was a press secretary at Earthjustice in the Washington, D.C. office from 2008 to 2014, working on issues including federal rulemakings, energy efficiency laws and coal ash pollution.