Learning Disabilities, Developmental Issues, and Brain Injury
Consumers have long been aware of the dangers of lead in toys and household items. Laws restricting lead use in items manufactured for children have lowered parental concern about safety issues. Even cheap children’s jewelry and toys are thought to be safer in recent years, but in many instances, lead has been replaced by cadmium in these products.
Cadmium is a toxic metal that holds the number seven slot in hazardous materials ranked by the United States Center for Disease Control. Tests show many of the toys manufactured in China over the past several years contain dangerous levels of cadmium, but Chinese factories may not be alone in their use of the metal. Personal injury attorneys in California, and around the country, are beginning to take note of this issue as strong evidence points to some of these products as causing developmental issues, learning disabilities and brain injury in children.
Associated Press Investigations in Product Liability
In 2010, the Associated Press conducted tests on a variety of jewelry and toys. Over one hundred items were purchased from retailers throughout California, Texas, Ohio and New York. Testing indicated that many of the items contained unsafe levels of cadmium. Cadmium levels as high as 80 to 90 percent appeared in a variety of bracelets and other jewelry for girls. The AP findings sparked a number of recalls based on elevated levels of cadmium.
Cadmium Related Recalls
Product liability related to cadmium is not limited to jewelry. Excessive levels of the hazardous metal have been found in other toys and even dishes. Some notable recalls associated with high cadmium levels include:
- Two Lifetime Brands stoneware dinner patterns (2008)
- FAF, Inc. necklaces sold at WalMart (2010)
- “Best Friends” charm bracelets sold at Claire’s (2010)
- “Shrek” drinking glasses included in McDonald’s children’s meals (2010)
- Charm bracelets and rings manufactured by SmileMakers (2010)
- A variety of metal jewelry made by Tween Brands (2010)
In addition to official recalls, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued several warnings regarding the safety of metal jewelry and toys manufactured in China. A warning issued in March 2010 cautioned consumers against holiday-themed jewelry that might be used in gift bags or at school parties.
Dangers of Cadmium Exposure
Cadmium is known to be toxic, and is especially dangerous to small children who may absorb toxins faster by sucking or swallowing small toys or pieces of jewelry. Oral introduction of items made with cadmium can result in exposure up to 100 times acceptable levels.
Cadmium exposure can result in a variety of serious conditions. In addition to the risks of developmental issues, learning disabilities, and brain injury in children, anyone exposed to high levels of cadmium on a regular basis may be at risk for kidney and lung damage. Bone damage and deterioration may also be related to cadmium exposure.
Health advocates and personal injury experts throughout California are speaking out loudly against cadmium use in children’s toys and jewelry. They are requesting the Consumer Product Safety Commission ban the dangerous substance from all manufacturing in the United States. Additional restrictions are being sought for goods imported from outside the U.S.
Need to Learn More?
If you think someone in your family has been adversely affected by cadmium exposure, the personal injury attorneys at The Mandell Law Firm are available to answer your questions regarding all possible remedies available to you under the law. For more information or to make an appointment at their Northridge office, contact Robert Mandell at 818.866.6600.