Toxic Jewelry Made in China Yanked from Wal-Mart Shelves

Retail giant Wal-Mart announced last week that it would pull a line of Chinese-made jewelry from its store shelves after an Associated Press investigation found that the items contained high-levels of a toxic chemical.

The company said that it would remove Miley Cyrus-brand necklaces and bracelets from its stores while it investigates the Associated Press finding.

In their study of the products, which was conducted in February, the AP found that of 61 samples, 59 contained high levels of cadmium. With enough exposure, cadmium can have adverse health effects, especially in younger children.

Cadmium has been known to hinder brain development in small children. The substance, which the Center for Disease Control and Prevention ranks as the seventh most hazardous material in the environment out of 275, has also been linked to cancer and lung, kidney and bone problems.

What’s more, according to the AP, is that Wal-Mart knowingly sold the products since receiving the test results in February, claiming that it would change its policy for supplier compliance, but also that it would be too difficult to remove all the items off store shelves.

It is unknown how many pieces of the contaminated jewelry have been sold, or to whom. The company claims that the products are designed and marketed for an older audience. However, Miley Cyrus, the Hanna Montana star, is popular with young girls.

“The Miley Cyrus & Max Azria line is not for children. It is sold in our ladies apparel section and it was designed for and marketed to older audiences,” Wal-Mart said in a statement. “However, it is possible that a few younger consumers may seek it out in stores.”

The AP report points out that the jewelry, due to the fact that the packaging says that it is intended for those 14 and older, is not subject to the same regulations as children’s toys.

This marks the second time this year that the AP has found children’s products made in China and sold in Wal-Mart to contain potentially dangerous levels of cadmium.
In January, an AP investigation revealed that some Chinese-made children’s charm bracelets and pendants sold at Wal-Marts across the country contained the chemical.

Lab tests of a small sampling of the items showed that some were made almost entirely of the heavy metal that is a known carcinogen. A 2008 law made it illegal to put anything beyond the most minimal amount of lead in children’s toys. So, it appears, many Chinese manufacturers have decided to use cheaper, and more dangerous, cadmium instead.

“Clearly it seems like for a metal as toxic as cadmium, somebody ought to be watching out to make sure there aren’t high levels in items that could end up in the hands of kids,” Ashland University professor Jeff Weidenhamer, who conducted the tests on the products, told the Associated Press.

This is just one of many episodes in the ongoing saga of America being invaded with toxic, faulty or dangerous Chinese imports.

Recently, over 60 million cans and pouches of dog and cat food originating from China were recalled after, by some estimates, 3,600 American pets died from eating foods contaminated with the toxic chemical melamine.

The blood thinner Heparin manufactured in China was also recalled recently by the FDA after it was found to have caused the deaths of 81 American citizens. Authorities believe that the contaminant, oversulfated chondroitin sulfate, a substance that mimics heparin but costs 99 percent less, entered the drug’s supply chain in China.

In the latter half of 2007, over 25 million childrens toys manufactured in China were recalled after they were found to be contaminated with toxic amounts of lead.

In that same year, roughly 450,000 tires were purchased from a Chinese manufacturer and sold in the U.S after they were found to be faulty and pose dangers for drivers.

Most recently, millions of pounds of Chinese-made drywall were recalled after it was found to emit sulfur gases that ruined numerous air conditioner and refrigerator coils, microwaves, computer wiring, faucets and copper tubing. In addition, rashes, allergic reactions, asthma and sore throats were reportedly caused by exposure to the substance.

“So many U.S. companies are directly or indirectly involved in China now, the commercial interest of the United States these days has become to allow imports to come in as quickly and smoothly as possible,” Robert B. Cassidy, a former assistant U.S. trade representative for China, told The Washington Post.

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