WASHINGTON -- The retail industry has been hit with another recall of toy fashion accessories containing unhealthy levels of cadmium.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced on May 10 the voluntary recall of 19,000 charm bracelet sets made in China and sold exclusively at the popular retail outlet Claire's between February 2009 through January 2010. Marketed nationwide under the name "Best Friends," the bracelet sets sold for approximately $12 at the chain’s stores. See CPSC recall notice.
The bracelet sets are described as silver-colored chains with metal pendants, each with charms carrying the words "Best," "Friends" or "Forever," along with heart-shaped lock and key charms with different colored toy gemstones. The bracelets were found to contain high levels of cadmium, a known carcinogen that could also damage kidneys and bones, if ingested.
News of the recall followed an announcement that the CPSC is increasing its scrutiny of toy fashion accessories at 10 of the nation’s largest ports. The beefed-up inspections will include an interagency effort linking the commission and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, through "commercial targeting and analysis centers."
Both agencies are employing sophisticated equipment to detect and detain potentially harmful products before they enter the domestic supply chain. The inspection centers are being billed as the first interagency facilities dedicated to consumer health and safety at America’s borders.
The recall also follows an investigation by Chinese officials into the use of the toxic metal in toys. Product safety officials in several manufacturing cities in China have warned suppliers they will be shut down if it is discovered they are using cadmium. Safety officials in at least 10 Chinese cities and provinces have recently posted cadmium warnings on their websites over the past two months.
Awareness of the dangers of cadmium in consumer products rose sharply when an investigative story by the Associated Press received wide coverage earlier this year. See story.
The bulk vending industry’s suppliers, which have been closely monitoring the situation, have not been impacted by the cadmium scare.