Cadmium in Jewelry

Problem: Cadmium’s ability to cause cancer, kidney damage, and reproductive harm are well documented. Cadmium exposure is particularly a problem for children because we get rid of cadmium from our bodies very slowly. The cadmium that is accumulated during childhood can lead to health problems later on.

Recent reports have found that some jewelry, including some jewelry for children, is made of metal alloys with a high cadmium concentration. Children can be exposed to this cadmium when they suck or chew, or swallow jewelry. Adults can also be exposed when they handle jewelry.

CEH Action: In February 2010, CEH initiated the nation’s first legal action against stores and jewelry distributors who have sold jewelry with high levels of cadmium. Our testing found high levels of cadmium in jewelry from several national retailers, including stores that cater to young girls.

See the February 2010 CEH Report, Cadmium: Another Toxic Threat in California Jewelry.

Solution: The goal of our legal work is to require the companies to meet strict standards that protect women and children from cadmium in jewelry.

What You Can Do: Avoid cheap metal jewelry. If you have a piece of jewelry that you’re concerned about, CEH can test it for you.


Tween Brands Recalls Children’s Metal Jewelry Due to High Levels of Cadmium, Associated Press, July 13, 2010

Two Stores Pull Necklaces on Toxic Cadmium Concern, Associated Press, February 4, 2010

Chemical Turns Up in Children’s Jewelry, WIVB-TV, January 12, 2010