Toxic Chemicals Found in Costume Jewelry

by Cassandra R. Elias

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Toxic Chemicals Found in JewelryThe Ecology Center released a study performed by HealthyStuff.org (an arm of The Ecology Center) on March 13, 2012 finding high levels of toxic chemicals (such as lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic) in low-cost costume jewelry.

The group tested adult and children's jewelry, looking for dangerous chemicals. The findings are alarming as the chemicals found, including arsenic and mercury, have been linked to acute allergies, birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity and cancer.

According to the report, more than half of the products had a "high" level of toxic chemicals. Five products had over 10 percent cadmium, a known carcinogen, and 50 percent had lead, with more than half of those containing enough lead to exceed the Consumer Product Safety Commission's limit of lead for children's products.

Jeff Gearhart, Research Director at the Ecology Center and founder of HealthyStuff.org, said, "There is no excuse for jewelry, especially children's jewelry, to be made with some of the most well studied and dangerous substances on the planet. We urge manufacturers to start replacing these chemicals with non-toxic substances immediately."

Almost one hundred items were tested from 14 retailers, including Target, Big Lots, Burlington Coat Factory, Claire's, Big Lots, Walmart and Kohl's. The samples were collected from several states including Ohio, Massachusetts and New York.

HealthyStuff.org measured the presence of these chemicals with an X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzer, which they state is a proven, accurate indicator of elements in products.

If you're concerned about these types of jewelry products, you can read the study and search their site by brand, jewelry type, and chemical detected.

Will you be checking your jewelry more carefully in light of this report? Tell us what you think!

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