Before you head to Ross, Nordstrom Rack, and Papaya, you may want to take a look at a report recently dropped by the nonprofit Center for Environmental Health about cadmium in jewelry. Cadmium, an incredibly toxic heavy metal that causes cancer and reproductive harm, was found in jewelry sold with women’s dresses and shirts. The public has been warned to avoid clothing with jewelry from these brands until further testing has been done. What are these companies doing about it? Well, let’s take a look. You’ve trusted Mamavation to cover topics like chemicals found in everyday shampoo linked to weight gain, the strongest air purifier on the market, how to find out what the air quality is like where you live, now join us as we take you through what was found at Ross, Nordstrom Rack, and Papaya that may disrupt your hormonal health and lead to cancer.
History of Cadmium in Jewelry
Consumer watch groups have been focused on cadmium in jewelry since 2010 when an Associated Press investigation found Chinese manufacturers were using metal to make kid’s jewelry. Following this investigation, states like California outlawed cadmium in children’s jewelry. California’s law allows for no more than 0.03 percent cadmium in jewelry for children, which was basically an estimate of a safe level for children. However, because we don’t know how much Cadmium actually sheds when it’s handled and worn, it’s unclear whether this law is actually protecting children. The good news was later testing revealed that chemical had virtually disappeared by 2012 from jewelry produced for children.
But what about adult jewelry? California laws never addressed cadmium in adult jewelry, so companies are legally able to produce jewelry with cadmium and sell it to consumers. If adult consumers would like to purchase jewelry without cadmium, they will have to rely on reports like the one just produced by the Center for Environmental Health to ascertain which products are safe.
The Center for Environmental Health Report on Cadmium in Jewelry
The results from independent testing commissioned by The Center for Environmental Health was released this year in a report covered by the Associated Press. The Center for Environmental Health purchased women’s dresses and shirts with jewelry attached at Ross, Nordstroms Rack, and Papaya in the greater San Francisco area and tested them for cadmium. What they found was shocking and very problematic to the health of families considering how incredibly toxic exposure to cadmium is. The results were as follows:
- 31 adult jewelry items purchased from retail stores were at least 40 percent cadmium
- Most items were more than 90 percent cadmium
- Many of the jewelry pieces contain more than 3,000 times the level of cadmium allowed in children’s jewelry under California law (.03%)
- Ross had the most tainted jewelry of all the brands
- Brands found at Ross with high levels of cadmium include Tacera and Vibe Sportswear
Health Impacts of Cadmium
Cadmium is an incredibly toxic contaminant problematic to the health of your family. It accumulates in the body over time and can damage your kidneys and bones. And that exposure happens over time by ingesting small amounts, or by breathing it into the lungs through tobacco smoke, which can also contain cadmium. There is also a chance that you can absorb cadmium through the skin, a.k.a. dermal contact, similar to how BPA is absorbed through the skin when you handle thermal receipt paper. Cadmium can also trigger skin rashes like psoriasis and is listed on California’s Prop. 65 List of carcinogens.
Michael Harbut from Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine states “Cadmium is bad. Given the choice between wearing something with cadmium in it, or wearing something without cadmium in it, I would take the product without Cadmium.”
How are Ross, Nordstrom Rack & Papaya Responding?
Now that Ross, Nordstrom Rack & Papaya have been caught selling products that can cause cancer and organ damage, how are they responding and what are they going to do about it? The reactions have been mixed.
Ross, which operates more than 1,400 stores in 38 states, had some of the most tainted jewelry found at their stores. We at Mamavation are very concerned with the supply chain at this national chain because one pendant from a necklace chain was 100 percent cadmium. Brands found at Ross with high levels of cadmium include Tacera and Vibe Sportswear. In a written statement, Ross declared to investigate. They said they are committed to protecting their customers and has “addressed this issue with our supplier.” However, we are unsure if they have pulled the products from the shelves.
The Associated Press reached out to Xinwei Xie, Chief Executive Officer at Trend Textile Inc., which owns Tacera, and he declined to comment. The Skate Group Inc., which owns Vibe Sportswear, was also contacted by Associated Press and multiple times and did not respond either.
A Nordstrom spokeswoman by the name of Emily Sterken said they are “reaching out to these vendors to make them aware of the situation and get more information on these items.” Papaya operates over 100 retail locations in the United States said “our manufacturers are required to represent and warrant that their products are in legal compliance. Papaya is very strict and stops doing business with any manufacturer which fails to comply.” Papaya has recalled all the products where contamination was found and stopped purchasing from that manufacturer in China.
How Should Families Respond?
At Mamavation we recommend stopping purchasing jewelry or clothing containing jewelry from Ross, Nordstroms Rack or Papaya until the Center for Environmental Health repeats their study. We don’t have the ability to assure your safety until that happens. But I’d also like to throw in there that toxic exposure is cumulative and if you focus on other parts of your home, you’ll be doing your family a favor. For instance, focusing on cleaning up your indoor air is worth your time and we have a FREE eBook that can help you do that.
Indoor air is typically between 3-5x more polluted than the air outside and because the air you breathe can impact your health, it’s very important to clean it up inside your home. So when you don’t know everything about the contaminants around you, focus on things you can control like air quality.