The USA has condemned Chinese manufacturers for responding to a ban on lead in children’s toys by replacing it with cadmium, potentially even more toxic.
The US recently attempted to effect a ban on the import of poisonous toys, imported from China and frequently containing high concentrations of lead, but the response of Chinese manufacturers has simply been to substitute lead with other toxic heavy metals, rather than actually stop using toxic materials altogether as was presumably desired.
The US government’s top consumer watchdog, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, was outraged by recent media reports that cheap jewelry for children, sold at such stores as Walmart and supplied from China, was found to contain as much as 91% cadmium.
They warned parents against buying metal jewelry for their children in no uncertain terms:
“I have a message for parents, grandparents and caregivers: Do not allow young children to be given or to play with cheap metal jewelry, especially when they are unsupervised.
We have proof that lead in children’s jewelry is dangerous and was pervasive in the marketplace. To prevent young children from possibly being exposed to lead, cadmium or any other hazardous heavy metal, take the jewelry away.”
The retailers concerned have withdrawn the offending items from sale, but imports are unaffected, and naturally China’s factories continue to uphold their famous reputation for quality.
Democrats were quick to jump on the China-bashing bandwagon:
“It is just despicable that a manufacturer anywhere, in this case in China, would use something that’s known to be poisonous to children and put it in children’s jewelry to save a few bucks.”
Cadmium has long been known to be highly toxic, usually as an industrial pollutant; Japan’s notorious “Itai-itai disease,” a condition which killed and deformed thousands for many decades, was found to be caused by cadmium contamination.
It seems the complete lack of scruples displayed by Chinese manufacturers, and the willingness of American consumers and retailers to place price before safety, is truly a match made in hell.