Posted: Jan 29, 2010 1:12 PM by Rob Kirkpatrick
Federal consumer safety regulators on Friday announced the
recall of "The Princess and The Frog" pendants because of high
levels of the toxic metal cadmium, an unprecedented action that
reflects concerns of an emerging threat in children's products.
The recall affects two products, about 55,000 items in total,
sold exclusively at Walmart stores for $5 each. The action was
taken voluntarily by Rhode Island-based jewelry company FAF Inc.,
which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which disclosed the
recall, had been testing for cadmium in children's metal jewelry
for several weeks in response to an Associated Press investigation
that reported high levels of the known carcinogen in the Disney
movie-themed pendants and other children's metal jewelry imported
In reaction to the AP's reporting earlier this month, Wal-Mart
Stores Inc. had pulled three items from its shelves, including the
two recalled Friday - a crown pendant with UPC number 72783367144
and a frog pendant with UPC number 72783367147. The items had been
on sale at Walmart stores since November, in conjunction with
release of the animated movie.
Soon after Wal-Mart pulled the items, the CPSC's chairman
advised parents to throw away all pieces of inexpensive metal
jewelry, noting that children who chew, suck on or swallow a
bracelet charm or necklace may be endangering their health.
Consumers can return the two recalled items "to any Walmart
store for a full refund or a free replacement product," according
to the recall notice. Wal-Mart did not immediately respond to a
request for comment.
The recall marks the first time any consumer product has been
recalled in the United States because of cadmium, which recent
research also suggests can harm brain development in children. The
CPSC said in a statement that there have been no reports of cadmium
poisonings associated with the pendants but that its investigation
into other pieces of jewelry "remains open and active."
The Walt Disney Co., which produced the movie, said: "Disney
supports the decision by FAF and the CPSC to recall the jewelry."
The Fashion Jewelry Trade Association, which represents the
industry, had no immediate comment.
Lab tests conducted on 103 pieces of low-priced children's
jewelry as part of AP's original investigation found 12 items with
cadmium content above 10 percent of the total weight. One item
consisted of 91 percent cadmium by weight.
Pendants from four "The Princess and The Frog" necklaces
ranged between 25 and 35 percent cadmium, according to the testing.
At the time, Walt Disney said in a statement that test results
provided by FAF Inc. showed the item complied with all applicable
safety standards. But in the case of cadmium, unlike lead, there
have been no specific levels that would automatically trigger
health risks to children or a push for a recall.
As part of its investigation, the CPSC bought pieces of the
jewelry cited in the AP reports, tested them in the agency's lab
and found high levels as well. Based on the Federal Hazardous
Substances Act, agency staff determined that the items posed a
health risk to children, according to agency spokesman Scott
Wolfson. The agency then approached FAF, which cooperated with the
investigation and agreed to the recall.