Citizen Science Corps

Featured Project:
Cadmium and Lead in Jewelry

citizen scienceHigh levels of cadmium and lead are commonly found in inexpensive jewelry. Dozens of product recalls for lead and cadmium have been issued by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) over the last several years. Both cadmium and lead can be potentially released from jewelry when mouthed or swallowed. While there are existing CPSC standards for lead in jewelry (300ppm for substrate, 90ppm for coatings), CPSC has not established limits for cadmium. Although, they have issued five recalls for cadmium in jewelry, and the chair of the CPSC has advised parents to take away all inexpensive jewelry from children because of potential risks.

A recent study (Bioavailability of Cadmium in Inexpensive Jewelry, Weidenhamer, 2011) of 57 jewelry items tested the jewelry under conditions similar to a child mouthing and swallowing the products, to learn if cadmium was released. The researchers concluded that there was "the potential for dangerous cadmium exposures to children who wear, mouth, or accidentally swallow high-cadmium jewelry items." The amount of cadmium coming out of jewelry was not necessarily greater in products with higher cadmium levels.

Citizen scientists are invited to submit jewelry samples. Click here to read more about preparing and sending your sample.

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News

Toxic chemicals pervasive in baby products sold in Michigan

Michigan families participated in a study of products designed for newborns, babies, and toddlers which found that 80 percent of products tested contained chemical flame retardants that, while legal, are considered toxic or lack adequate health safety data, according to a peer-reviewed study published in the Environmental Science & Technology Journal.  Items tested included car seats, nursing pillows, changing pads, crib wedges, bassinet mattresses and other items made with polyurethane foam.

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