Toxic jewelry instances are found every year, reminding parents of the dangers presented in everyday life. Lead, cadmium, and allergenic nickel, which add weight or stability to alloys at a fraction of the cost of silver and other precious metals, typically surface as the main culprits, and contact either via ingestion or even wearing the piece can cause irreversible health problems. Children, of course, are especially vulnerable, and federal limits for lead and cadmium content are 100 parts per million (0.01%) and 75 ppm (0.0075%) for children’s jewelry and toys, respectively. However, jewelry intended for adults has no regulation on the amount of these metals allowed. Manufacturers are using this loophole to sell fashionable, cheaply-made, potentially-deadly accessories sold at retailers–from department stores to clothing boutiques–that can easily end up in the hands of children.
The best solution is to know what’s in your jewelry by purchasing from reputable retailers or directly from the manufacturer. Look for companies like Peter Stone Jewelry (and its subsidiaries) that use sterling silver, 14 karat gold (or higher), zinc, copper, platinum, rhodium, titanium, or surgical steel–even in plated designs to eliminate the risk of toxicity when worn or ingested by mistake.
We can’t stop kids from wanting to wear our jewelry or putting things in their mouths. We can, however, reduce the dangers by becoming knowledgeable and making informed choices and purchases. Shop from respectable businesses, and avoid jewelry made with metals lacking the quality and safety of precious metals. Even if it’s considered safe for you, children are more susceptible to heavy metal poisoning, and prevention of exposure is the best measure.