Last week, an AP investigation rocked the cybersphere with the announcement that some Chinese manufacturers have been substituting the more dangerous heavy metal cadmium in place of lead in the shiny and cheap jewelry marketed to children throughout the United States.  In light of this announcement, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued one if its own:

"Because of these recent developments, 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." 
Cadmium is a known carcinogen. Like lead, it can hinder brain development in young children, and they don't have to swallow an item to be exposed — they can get persistent, low-level doses by regularly sucking or biting jewelry with a high cadmium content.  Yet under CPSIA - the new toy safety law that sets stringent standards for lead in children's products - there is no specific regulation against using cadmium as a lead substitute in children's products.

This looks like a loophole that the CPSC is soon to fix.  "We are moving swiftly to stop the replacement of lead with cadmium and other hazardous heavy metals in children’s products imported from China. We are also actively investigating the jewelry cited in the recent AP story and will inform parents and consumers quickly of any actions we take as a result of our efforts. Our investigation is squarely focused on ensuring the safety of children," said CPSC Chairman Inez Tennenbaum on the CPSC blog entitled On Safety.  

His post continued, stating, "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," 

It's not often that the CPSC issues a warning this bold and direct.  So you can bet your metal trinkets that I'm going to heed it.  Time to get that cheap metal jewelry out of our homes and away from our kids.