MDCH Urges Caution When Purchasing Children's Jewelry

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

March 30, 2006

State officials today drew attention to new guidance from the Consumer Protect Safety Commission (CPSC) regarding children’s jewelry that may contain high concentrations of lead and urged parents to use caution when purchasing items.

“We would urge parents to be aware of the lead poisoning risks associated with inexpensive jewelry by visiting the CPSC’s web site,” said Janet Olszewski, Director of the Michigan Department of Community Health. “Additionally, children should never place metal items in their mouths.”

CPSC has announced a new policy addressing lead in children’s metal jewelry after two incidences around the country led to recalls of products. Details can be found at www.cpsc.gov or by calling the Consumer Hotline at (800) 638-2772.

In February 2006, a Minnesota child died from brain swelling due to lead poisoning after having eaten a heart-shaped charm from a bracelet included in a box of Reebok shoes. Reebok and CPSC have begun a voluntary recall of the bracelets that have been distributed all over the U.S. in the packaging with Reebok shoes.

In 2004, a child in Oregon became severely lead-poisoned after consuming a necklace with a high lead content. At that time, the CPSC recalled 150 million pieces of metallic toy jewelry sold all over the country in vending machines and other outlets.

While deteriorating lead-based paint in homes built before 1978 remains the most common U.S. source of lead exposure, ingesting lead-containing items is becoming more common as a source of life-threatening lead poisoning.