Department of Ecology News Release - March 15, 2016

High levels of cadmium and lead found in children's jewelry accessories
Toxic chemicals violate standards for children's products

OLYMPIA – Testing by the Washington Department of Ecology revealed high levels of the heavy metals cadmium and lead in several necklaces sold as accessories packaged with girls' dresses.

Ecology recently tested 27 pieces of jewelry packaged with clothing and found five that contained very high levels of lead or cadmium. Ecology also tested 132 items of children's jewelry sold separately, none of which were found to contain concerning levels of these metals. (See the full report.)

Under Washington's Children's Safe Products Act, items intended for children cannot contain more than 40 parts per million of cadmium. In four pieces of jewelry sold packaged with a girl's clothing item, Ecology's testing found cadmium at levels up to 984,000 parts per million, meaning the item was 98 percent cadmium. Ecology has notified the manufacturers of the jewelry that they are in violation of Washington's Children's Safe Products Act and could be required to take corrective action or be subject to penalties.

One separate necklace sold with a dress contained 50,100 parts per million lead, meaning it was 5 percent lead. Federal law preempts Washington's standards for lead in children's jewelry, so Ecology referred its test results to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

“There is simply no reason to have high levels of toxic metals like cadmium and lead in children's products,” said Darin Rice, Ecology's hazardous waste and toxics reduction program manager. “We tested a wide range of jewelry and most of it was within acceptable levels. A few manufacturers, however, are not following the law and are putting children at risk.”

Both cadmium and lead accumulate in bone and soft tissues in the body, remain in the body for a very long time and can cause serious health effects, especially in children. Cadmium can lead to cardiovascular, skeletal and kidney damage. Lead affects child brain development, and damages the cardiovascular, immune and reproductive systems. Both of these metals are toxic at very low doses.

Swallowing one of the items found to contain cadmium or lead is the greatest concern, although mouthing an item or frequent hand-to-mouth contact after handling a decorative piece could also lead to exposure. Simply wearing the jewelry is unlikely to result in significant exposure. If you purchased one of these products, Ecology recommends returning the item to the store or safely disposing of it in your household trash.

“Cadmium and lead are two chemicals of major public health concern and we support efforts to reduce exposure to kids in Washington,” said Lauren Jenks, director of the Office of Environmental Public Health Sciences at the Washington State Department of Health. “The chemicals impact their developing brains and bodies and they are at greater risk for exposure because they're more likely to put items like jewelry in their mouths.”

You can find more information on the health risks of lead and cadmium on Ecology's website.

The items found to contain high levels of cadmium or lead are:

Caged Back ¾-sleeve Shift DressProduct: Caged Back ¾-sleeve Shift Dress
Description: gold-colored key charm sold with coral dress
Brand: Soulmates Girl
Manufacturer: Big Strike, Inc.
Test result: cadmium – 397,000 ppm (39.7%)
KW Ivory Moto DressProduct: KW Ivory Moto Dress
Description: bow charm sold with cream dress and jacket
Brand: Beautees
Manufacturer: KWDZ Manufacturing, LLC
Test result: cadmium – 534,000 ppm (53.4 %)
Lace to meshProduct: Lace to Mesh Dress
Description: necklace sold with gold, black, and white dress
Brand: My Michelle Girls
Manufacturer: Kellwood Company
Test result: cadmium – 984,000 ppm (98.4%)
All over floral dressProduct: All Over Floral Dress
Description: necklace sold with lace cream-colored dress
Brand: My Michelle Girls
Manufacturer: Kellwood Company
Test result: cadmium – 931,000 ppm (93.1 %)
Sparkle glitter knit popover dress Product: Sparkle Glitter Knit Popover Dress
Description: necklace sold with black and pink dress
Brand: Xtraordinary
Manufacturer: SWAT, Inc.
Test result: lead – 50,100 parts per million (ppm) (5.1 %)

To view data from Ecology's product testing program, go to


Andrew Wineke, communications, 360-407-6149, @ecologyWA