Owen H. Johnson

June 17, 2011

    The New York State Senate today passed a measure that would prohibit the sale of children’s jewelry which may contain harmful levels of cadmium and other hazardous substances. The bill (S.4055A), sponsored by Senator James Alesi (R-C-I, Perinton) protects children from accidentally ingesting cadmium, often used in inexpensive charm bracelets, pendants and other jewelry.

Cadmium is a known carcinogen, which can hinder brain development in children and cause kidney, lung and intestinal damage. A 2009 report by the Associated Press found that Chinese manufacturers have been substituting cadmium for lead to make inexpensive jewelry which is then being sold by retailers in New York and other states.

    “It is everyone’s responsibility to protect our children, especially from products containing hazardous substances,” said Senator Alesi. “This bill takes an important step to prevent the sale of items that could cause accidental and unnecessary exposure and severe health effects.”

    “The best way to safeguard our children from exposure to harmful items is to prevent them from getting access in the first place,” Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos said. “Prohibiting the use of toxic levels of cadmium and other metals in the manufacturing of children’s jewelry eliminates a known risk so that our families can grow up healthy.”

       In the AP tests, the jewelry contained so much cadmium that if they had been different items, and not children’s jewelry, they would have fallen under federal environmental laws for specific handling and disposal. Children can be exposed to cadmium by accidentally swallowing a piece of jewelry or by putting it in their mouth.
This legislation restricts the use of cadmium and other hazardous substances in children’s jewelry, including in paint and surface coatings.

The bill will be sent to the Assembly.