Wal-Mart has removed a line of Miley Cyrus necklaces and bracelets from its stores after tests showed they contained potentially dangerous levels of cadmium, a toxic metal. The necklaces and bracelets had been available in Wal-Mart stores since December of 2009.
Testing conducted a the request of the Associated Press revealed the existence of cadmium as early as last February, but at the time Wal-Mart indicated that it would have been too difficult to test the products already in their stores.
Much like exposure to lead, cadmium can hamper proper brain development in young people. It can also contribute to kidney failure and lead to bone softening. Cadmium is generally not dangerous if it is simply worn as jewelry, but if a child were to put the item in his or her mouth or inadvertently ingest it, the child would be exposed to the toxic metal.
Girls between the ages of 6 and 11 seem to be especially susceptible to cadmium exposure, but the research is not clear as to why. Some believe that iron deficiencies in girls of that age may lead to greater cadmium absorption. At the present time, there does not appear to be any products liability litigation in progress.
Wal-Mart has said the jewelry is not intended for children, but also acknowledged that young people may seek it out in stores.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued recalls for bracelets containing cadmium that were being sold at the jewelry store Claire's and at Dollar N More stores. The agency has said that additional recalls are likely.
For its part, Wal-Mart has announced that it has now voluntarily instituted a program that requires its suppliers to prove their products contain very little or no cadmium. In the past, testing revealed some items contained as much as 90% cadmium.
- Wal-Mart pulls jewelry over cadmium (Associated Press)