By Derek Wallbank
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Amy Klobuchar today demanded a hearing on the use of a metal "more dangerous than lead" in children's toys and jewelery manufactured in China.
A Klobuchar provision inserted in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act banned the use of lead in children's toys. Now, she says, some Chinese toy manufacturers are substituting cadmium for the banned lead — despite the replacement metal's toxicity if ingested.
"There’s no excuse — toxic jewelry and toys need to be off our shores and out of our stores,” Klobuchar said in a statement. “As a parent, I am outraged to hear that a metal more dangerous than lead could be found in children’s products. Given the safety interests at stake, we need to conduct a full investigation into unsafe products from China and stop this once and for all.”
Klobuchar sits on the Senate Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over such investigations. She also asked the Consumer Product Safety Commission to conduct its own investigation into the matter.
Klobuchar's letter to Senate Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller is below:
"I write to you today about recent news reports on the use of cadmium, a metal more dangerous than lead, in children’s toys. As you know, I drafted the bill — ultimately included in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) — that set stringent standards on the amount of lead in children’s toys. This tough standard was designed to protect our kids and it was particularly important to me and the State of Minnesota since a Minneapolis four-year-old, Jarnell Brown, died in 2006 from swallowing a charm made almost entirely of lead.
"Since Congress passed the CPSIA in 2008, toy manufacturers have drastically limited their use of lead and the number of toy recalls based on lead has decreased substantially. At the same time, I am very concerned that some Chinese toy manufacturers are now substituting lead with cadmium, a known carcinogen, in toys and charms being sold throughout the United States. Although there are currently no cadmium restrictions on toys and jewelry, cadmium is a poison and if ingested, can hinder brain development and lead to other health problems in children. In short, this metal has no place in children’s toys.
"I know that you share my concern about keeping unsafe toys off our shores and out of our stores. Given the safety interests at stake, I urge the Committee to remain focused on unsafe products from China and to schedule a hearing on this issue. Thank you for your consideration and for your continued leadership on these issues."