I was somewhat surprised today to see how the NYTs is addressing the cadmium issue in their article, U.S. Seeks Limits on Cadmium for Toys and Jewelry. What really happened yesterday was the that CPSC asked the industry to self-regulate. The CPSC Chairman, Inez M. Tenebaum is quoted: “If we find those standards are insufficient to protect the health and safety of consumers, then we can move to a mandatory standard.”
Why are we waiting? I would have thought that after our experiences with the toy industry and dangerous lead levels–that we have learned our lesson about self-regulation. Leaving this to the industry also means a continued uncertainty about how to test for cadmium. As with lead the way you test can greatly impact the results. We agree with the Center for Environmental Health that the standard on the federal level should be the same as it is now in California–which bans children’s jewelry that contains more than 300 parts per million total cadmium. The “total” testing approach is superior to the extraction approach being used. The CEH points out that the extraction approach does not take into account the wear and tear that occurs.
This is a step in the wrong direction.