Sunday, September 19, 2010

Govt urged: Act on use of cadmium in kids' jewelry

They may look nice on kids, but some children's jewelry may be
potentially harmful as these are laced with cadmium, an ecological
group said.

EcoWaste Coalition said government should conduct toxicological tests
on samples of children’s jewelry and immediately recall and destroy —
“in an environmentally-sound way" — those items found having cadmium.

“We’re concerned that the government has yet to respond to this
newly-recognized threat of cadmium exposure to the health and wellness
of children who are most vulnerable to toxic poisoning," said Manny
Calonzo, former president of the EcoWaste Coalition, in an entry on
the group's blog site.

The group noted the US Consumer Product Safety Commission has already
issued at least five recall orders for cadmium-tainted children’s
jewelry from China.

“We need to be on a 'red alert' to ensure that rejected children’s
jewelry as well as toys containing elevated amounts of cadmium, lead
and other toxic substances are not dumped into the Philippine market,"
Calonzo said.

He added the California State Senate approved a law last August
banning the manufacture, shipment or sale of children's jewelry
containing more than 0.03 percent cadmium by weight beginning in 2012.

The group said government action against cadmium in children’s jewelry
is in line with the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals
Management (SAICM).

SAICM seeks to "prevent the adverse effects of chemicals on the health
of children and other vulnerable groups and susceptible environments."

From January to July this year, the US Consumer Protection Services
Commission (CPSC) issued recall orders targeting more than 200,000
“made in China" children’s jewelry due to their high levels of
cadmium, warning that “cadmium is toxic if ingested by young children
and can cause adverse health effects."

Among the items recalled were children’s metal necklaces, pendants,
rings, bracelets, earrings and trinkets that were imported from China
and sold in various retail outlets in the US.

CPSC further instructed consumers to stop using the recalled products
immediately, while making it illegal to resell or attempt to resell
the recalled products.

While cadmium is listed in the revised Priority Chemical List
comprised of 48 chemicals, the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources (DENR) has yet to issue a chemical control order (CCO) that
will regulate the use of cadmium and cadmium compounds.

The DENR has so far issued only four CCOs for asbestos, cyanide,
mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls.

CCOs are issued to prevent and reduce serious risks to public health,
workplace and the environment from the “priority chemicals."

According to the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry,
breathing high levels of cadmium can severely damage the lungs.

Eating food or drinking water with very high levels severely irritates
the stomach, leading to vomiting and diarrhea.

Long-term exposure to lower levels of cadmium in air, food, or water
leads to a buildup of cadmium in the kidneys and possible kidney
disease. Other long-term effects are lung damage and fragile bones.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined
that cadmium and cadmium compounds are known human carcinogens.

According to the Europe-based Safe Toys Coalition, which includes the
EcoWaste Coalition and the Global Alliance for Incinerator
Alternatives as members, children are much more sensitive to exposure
to toxic chemicals than adults.

"Their body systems are still premature and developing. Due to their
different behavior they have different patterns of exposure, like
putting things in the mouth. They are unaware of risks and unable to
protect their health," a statement by the Safe Toys Coalition said.

“Even the smallest amounts of hazardous chemicals are sufficient to
harm the development of a child – sometimes with lifelong
consequences. The increasing allergy and cancer rates demonstrate
this," it added.


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