UPDATE: Walmart announced it is pulling the products identified as containing cadmium that are carried in its stores.
"We will immediately remove from sale those items identified in recent media reports regarding cadmium while our own investigation is being completed, and until more is known," Walmart said in a written statement. "The findings in this report are troubling and as the world's largest retailer we have a responsibility to take swift action and we're doing so."
The head of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is urging the nations that make children's toys and jewelry to not allow manufacturers to substitute other toxic heavy metals for lead.
"I would highly encourage all of you to ensure that toy manufacturers and children's product manufacturers in your country are not substituting cadmium, antimony, barium, in place of lead," CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum said in a recorded address to the international trade association Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. "All of us should be committed to keeping hazardous or toxic levels of heavy metals out of surface coatings and substrates of toys and children's products."
A recent investigation of kids' jewelry and cheap trinkets by the Associated Press found about one in 10 pieces they had tested contained at least 10% cadmium -- a carcinogen. Zinc is considered a safe substitute for lead.
The CPSC said it is looking into whether manufacturers are making a move to less-regulated but just as dangerous materials. Tenenbaum told the Asia trade group that this will be a big issue in 2010.
Lead in children's products has long been an issue in the United States. Attention has been heightened recently with the limit of what is permissible being lowered to the point that using any would be too much.
At the time same time, recalls for lead have slowed recently after a spate over the past two years along with fines against manufacturers and an educational campaign in China -- where most of the products are made.
Children can get sick from ingesting lead -- or cadmium -- as well as suffer long-term effects including brain damage. Much of the ingestion of the lead comes from putting the tainted objects in their mouths.
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