Calif. Bill Would Ban Cadmium In Jewelry

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- California lawmakers took steps Thursday to ban jewelry that contains detectable levels of cadmium from being manufactured, shipped or sold in California.

The state Assembly approved SB929 on a 41-15 vote, the bare majority needed. The legislation was sent back to the Senate for expected final approval of Assembly amendments.

Under the bill, jewelry containing more than 300 parts per million of cadmium could not be made or sold in California beginning in 2012.

Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Augora Hills, the bill's author, credited an investigation in January by The Associated Press that found manufacturers in Asia were substituting the toxic metal because the U.S. had banned the use of lead in jewelry.

"Cadmium is a known cancer-causing agent, and there is no reason for our most vulnerable citizens -- our children -- to be exposed to this highly toxic metal," Pavley said in a statement.

Cadmium is a naturally occurring metal that, if ingested, can weaken bones and kidneys. Children can be exposed if they bite and suck on products containing it.

The AP investigation found that some jewelry was as much as 91 percent cadmium by weight and that high levels of the metal could leach out.

Since then, necklaces, bracelets and earrings sold by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and the teen-oriented stores Justice and Limited Too have been recalled.

McDonald's restaurants also recalled about 12 million Shrek-themed drinking glasses. Other U.S. companies have responded by announcing reviews of their own testing standards.

Pavley's office said at least four other states -- Connecticut, Illinois, Minnesota and Washington -- have banned cadmium at varying levels.

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