Cadmium is a carcinogen known for causing lung, breast and kidney cancers. However, because of its recent discovery in consumer products, only scant research results exist to help determine the long-term health effects in children exposed to cadmium.
At this time, scientists suspect cadmium hinders brain development in children and potentially causes kidney damage and bone deterioration.
Cadmium is a by-product of metal refining and found in rechargeable batteries.
Some manufacturers of inexpensive jewelry regularly use recycled aggregate metals from computer parts and other electronic waste. News recently surfaced that these products contain large amounts of cadmium.
Unbeknownst to the American public, a cottage industry in China sprung. It melts down computer parts and other electronic waste and sells the inexpensive aggregate metals to manufacturers of cheap jewelry.
This is terrible news for children and parents. Cheap jewelry, unlike expensive jewelry, typically lies around, and often ends up the mouths of small children.
How this impacts U.S. importers and distributors for years to come:
The good news for the American consumer is the problem should be short-lived. The current X-ray fluorescent technology (XRF) used in detecting lead amounts in products can also be used to detect cadmium.
The bad news is that China tends not to stop bad manufacturing processes quickly. It is likely that, at least in the immediate future, the use of recycled metals from computers and electronic parts to build cheap jewelry will continue. These Chinese manufacturers may simply sell their cadmium-filled products in parts of the world unaware of the potential dangers. That’s easier than taking the financial loss of recalling and destroying defective products.
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