Almost 20,000 children's "Best Friends" charm bracelets have been recalled nationwide due to high levels of the toxic metal cadmium. Federal regulators say this recall is only the beginning of their investigation of cadmium in children's jewelry.
The "Best Friends" charm bracelets were sold at Claire's stores across the country. Tests done by the Associated Press showed that the bracelets contained up to 91 percent cadmium by weight and shed amounts that alarmed researchers during a test measuring cadmium exposure to children who swallow the charms.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said that more recalls will be announced as a result of voluntary testing done by manufacturers. In addition, commission inspectors working at 10 of the country's largest ports have screened imports of jewelry for cadmium. In one case, Chinese-made jewelry was turned away.
Current federal law sets no limits for how much cadmium is allowed in children's jewelry, though some states are beginning to take matters into their own hands. For example, the Illinois state Legislature recently passed a bill to limit cadmium in children's jewelry that roughly follows a regulatory approach now used for cadmium in toys.
Cadmium is toxic if ingested by children and can lead to adverse health effects, said the CPSC. It has been shown that high levels of cadmium are a carcinogen and can harm kidneys and bones.