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Play jewelry could put children at risk of disease

It is no surprise that little girls love playing dress up. Often these games are full of fairytale princesses and living in castles. But what if you found out that the children's jewelry that your daughter and her friends were playing with had metal levels that could potentially cause health problems?

When products are unsafe for consumers, manufacturers can face products liability claims from consumers who are injured by the product. When federal agencies such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission hear about a dangerous or defective product, they will investigate. In some cases they announce a recall and require manufacturers to change the product so that it is no longer a danger to the public.

Last year the CPSC recalled thousands of pieces of children's jewelry that were made with cadmium. It was reported that the necklaces, rings, and bracelets were made with high levels of cadmium, posing a danger if swallowed by a child. High levels of cadmium can result in illnesses as serious as bone and kidney diseases.

After the recall, states began setting mandatory limits on the amount of metal that can be used in children's jewelry. In fact, while there are federal standards, many of the states' standards are stricter. Now the jewelry industry is trying to get those state limits decreased by arguing that it is making things more difficult for manufacturers.

There are a number of tests being done on different jewelry pieces to see whether the levels are safe for children. Some are still questioning whether current testing can even account for potential dangers in the future, after jewelry has gone through wear and tear. However if the levels are still too high, the jewelry industry may need to figure out another way to manufacture children's jewelry.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek: "Jewelers want states to replace limits on cadmium," Justin Pritchard, Sept. 26, 2011

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