In the wake of a media investigation that found cadmium in children’s jewelry imported from China, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said yesterday that it has opened an investigation into the metal jewelry identified in the report.


Bracelet charms sold at Walmart, jewelry chain Claire’s and a dollar store in Rochester, N.Y., showed a high level of cadmium, a known carcinogen, according to an investigation by The Associated Press. A high level of cadmium was also found in “The Princess and the Frog” pendants. AP reported last night that Walmart had removed the jewelry associated with cadmium from its stores.


Like lead, cadmium can hinder brain development in the very young, according to recent research.


Of the 103 items examined for the AP, 14 “had high levels of cadmium,” said Jeff Weidenhamer, the chemistry professor from Ashland University in Ohio, who conducted the tests.


“The majority of items tested from Claire’s were clean of cadmium,” he said, but one registered high — the best friends three-to-a-package bracelet set, with the UPC code of 260018 05140 89.


Yesterday afternoon there were still many colorful bracelets from the “best friend” line on the shelves of a Claire’s jewelry store at the Walt Whitman Mall. A manager referred a reporter to the company’s headquarters, but neither Claire’s nor Walmart officials returned calls seeking comment.


“All of us should be committed to keeping hazardous or toxic levels of heavy metals out of surface coatings and substrates of toys and children’s products,” said Inez Moore Tenenbaum, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission chairman, in a taped speech to be delivered today at the APEC Toy Safety Initiative/Dialogue in Hong Kong.

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She praised the removal of lead in children’s products, but encouraged manufacturers in China not to use cadmium, antimony or barium as a substitute.


With AP