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" LOS ANGELES – The nation's product safety agency issued an unprecedented warning Wednesday to parents: Don't give your children cheap metal jewelry. And if they already have some, toss it because it could contain hazardous levels of heavy metals such as lead and cadmium.
Writing in a blog posting Wednesday evening, the chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission noted that children who chew, suck on or swallow a bracelet charm or necklace may be endangering their health.
"I have a message for parents, grandparents and caregivers: Do not allow young children to be given or to play with cheap metal jewelry, especially when they are unsupervised," wrote Inez Tenenbaum, the chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
In making the recommendation, Tenenbaum cited an investigation by The Associated Press which reported high cadmium levels in kids' jewelry items imported from China including bracelet charms from Walmart and Claire's stores."
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"Business is business, and it's all up to our client," said He Huihua, manager of the Suiyuan Jewelry Shop at International Trade City in Yiwu, a sprawling wholesale mecca where sellers pitch their wares in hopes of landing a lucrative export contract.
He spoke from a small cubicle with rows of dangling metal earrings and key chains hanging on the wall. Elsewhere, brooches, necklaces, charms and other baubles shone under the market's lights.
"We just make what our clients order. If they pay more, we use the better raw material, and vice-versa. From a few cents to a few dollars, we can make the same style of jewelry product with a different raw material."
Asked what he thought about the health risks associated with cadmium and other toxic metals, He said: "I can't be overly concerned about that."