magpie
children
The CHEM-ELEON iPhone app

Blog

square

Toxic Trinkets - Avoid Poisonous Costume Jewellery

BY DIONNE LISTER

Do you, or your children, like dressing up in cheap costume jewellery? It sounds like fun, and might make you look pretty, but it may be damaging your health. A lot of these cheap, overseas produced items contain toxic chemicals, which are known to make us sick, some are even capable of causing cancer.

A recent study by the Ecology Centre has found that out of the 99 pieces of jewellery tested, most contained toxic components:

  • 59% of products tested were rated as having HIGH level of concern due the presence of one or more hazardous chemical detected at high levels
  • 6% of products tested were rated as having a MEDIUM level of concern due to the detection of one or more hazardous chemicals at medium levels
  • 35% of products tested were rated as having a LOW level of concern due to the detection of one or more hazardous chemicals at low levels


The chemicals tested for were:

  • Lead – A known neurotoxin which impairs brain development in children and is considered a probable human carcinogen;
  • Cadmium – A known human carcinogen, exposure to cadmium can cause high blood pressure, loss of bone density, and ingestion of high levels of cadmium can cause vomiting, abdominal pain and even death;
  • Chromium – May cause birth defects and exposure to high levels have caused asthma attacks and nasal irritation;
  • Mercury - Damaging to kidneys, toxic to the nervous system, damaging to the brain;
  • Arsenic – Inorganic arsenic is a known human carcinogen, can cause skin irritations, cardiovascular diseases and can is thought to cause deficits in fetal brain development.


It is alarming to think these chemicals, in particular lead and chromium, were found in many of the pieces tested, with at least a quarter having lead levels above the recommended safe limit of 300 ppm (parts per million). Ten percent of the pieces contained cadmium.

Considering we wear these items next to our skin and that some children put them in their mouths, these are frightening facts.

Here are some of the findings (souce) -

  • A high percentage of products had concentrations greater than 100 ppm of the metal allergens chromium (93%) and nickel (30%)
  • 12 of 95 (13%) of jewellery contained greater than 100 ppm arsenic
  • 5 of 95 (5%) of jewellery contained greater than 100 ppm mercury
  • 7 of 95 (7%) of jewellery contained brominate flame retardants (greater than 1,000 ppm bromine)
  • One-third, 11 of 95 (12%) of jewellery contained PVC (greater than 25,000 ppm chlorine)
  • *Note: Not all products were tested for all chemicals. Four products were only tested for lead and cadmium. 


Sources and more info:

What do you think?


hand