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On the same day that the Associated Press reported that China passed Germany as the world’s top exporter of goods, I read that U.S. safety authorities are investigating Chinese manufacturers of children’s jewelry for using the metal cadmium in the jewelry. Blog readers may recall that there was a big scare last year because Chinese toy manufacturers were using lead-based paint and lead in children’s jewelry and toys such as the Thomas The Tank Engine toys. Our government pressured the U.S. toy companies who imported from China and the Chinese government to end this dangerous practice. Why is it dangerous to have lead in toys? Because lead is a neuro-toxin, which means if it gets into a child’s blood stream, it can cause brain damage. How have the Chinese reacted to this pressure? Apparently by substituting cadmium for lead in cheap charm bracelets and pendants being sold throughout the United States. Everyone knows children put these things in their mouths. Cadmium is even more neuro-toxic than lead. One of the pieces of toy jewelry tested by the Consumer Product Safety Commission contained 91 per cent cadmium. The testing also showed that the toy items easily shed the heavy metal, increasing the liklihood of exposure to children. This is unconscionable. Ironically, the reports surfaced on the very day the CPSC Chairman was to address, via video, a toy safety meeting in Asia in which she was to laud manufacturers for effectively abandoning the use of lead in children’s products. Be safe. Buy American.

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