Senator Alesi Legislation Banning Cadmium in Children’s Jewelry Receiving National and International Acclaim

James S. Alesi

January 13, 2010

Senator Jim Alesi (R-Perinton) today discussed legislation he introduced that would ban cadmium in jewelry products intended for children.  The Senator met with reporters in his District Office in Fairport this afternoon.

    “Young children are most vulnerable to the many health hazards that exist in our world, including cadmium poisoning that causes irreversible damage to the brain, kidneys, lungs and intestines, ” said Senator Alesi.  “I have lead the fight for many years to remove dangerous toxins from children’s products, such as jewelry, toys, novelty products and candy.  As we all know, young children tend to put things in their mouth and products that contain cadmium can leech off into their blood stream and have tragic results.”

    The Senator introduced the legislation yesterday, on the first full Session day of the 2010 Legislative Session, after a recent report by the Associated Press (AP) found that Chinese manufacturers have been substituting cadmium for lead to make inexpensive charm bracelets and pendants that are being sold by retailers through the United States.

    Among the items tested by the AP were “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” charms on bracelets sold at a Dollar N More store in Rochester.  The charms were manufactured almost entirely of cadmium – measuring between 82 and 91 percent cadmium when tested.

    “The charms 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,” said Senator Alesi.  “Instead, our children are wearing these charms on their wrists.”

    Cadmium is a known carcinogen, which can hinder brain development in children and cause kidney, lung and intestinal damage.  The metal ranks number seven on the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of 275 most hazardous substances in the environment.  This is extremely close to lead, which currently falls at number two on the same list.  Children are most likely to be exposed to cadmium poisoning by sucking on and/or biting the affected jewelry, or by swallowing it.
    The legislation to ban cadmium is the latest in a series of measures that Senator Alesi has introduced while in public office.  In recent years, the Senator has been on the forefront of advancing legislation that focuses on children’s health and safety, including bills that would: ban lead in children’s jewelry; ban mercury in schools; ban dangerous cleaning products in schools; ban chromated copper arsenate (CCA) in pressure-treated lumber, once commonly used in wood playgrounds; and ban the use of bisphenol-A (BPA) in baby bottles and water bottles.

    Said Alesi, “Our children are our most precious commodity.  It is our responsibility to protect them from harmful products, especially those containing dangerous toxins.”