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How big does a warning sign need to be?

Cadmium is a soft, whitish metal that occurs naturally in soil. It’s perhaps best known as one half of rechargeable nickel-cadmium batteries, but also is used in pigments, electroplating and plastic. Lab testing organized by The Associated Press shows that it also is present in children’s jewelry ‘” sometimes at eye-popping levels exceeding 90 percent of the item’s total weight. Most people get a microscopic dose of the heavy metal just by breathing and eating. Plants, including tobacco, take up cadmium through their roots and people absorb it during digestion or inhalation. Without direct exposure, however, people usually don’t experience its nasty side: cancer, kidneys that leak vital protein, bones that spontaneously snap. Cadmium is particularly dangerous for children because growing bodies readily absorb substances, and cadmium accumulates in the kidneys for decades. Moving swiftly, U.S. product safety authorities say they are launching an investigation into the presence of the toxic metal cadmium in children’s jewelry imported from China after disclosure of lab tests showing that some pieces consisted primarily of the dangerous substance. The promise to “take action as quickly as possible to protect the safety of children” followed by hours the release Sunday of an Associated Press investigative report that documented how some Chinese manufacturers have been substituting cadmium for lead in cheap charm bracelets and pendants being sold throughout the United States including: ’¢ Three flip flop bracelet charms sold at Walmart (contained between 84 and 86 percent cadmium) ’¢ Two charms on a “Best Friends” bracelet bought at Claire’s (consisted of 89 and 91 percent cadmium) ’¢ Pendants from four “The Princess and The Frog” necklaces bought at Walmart (ranged between 25 and 35 percent cadmium) With our nation’s current rate of import products and a majority of them coming from China do we need a larger warning sign that cancerous cadmium to reconsider our dependency on such products and importations? GO!

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