Walmart Pulls Miley Cyrus Jewelry Over Cadmium Concerns

Or, maybe a better title for this post is: Walmart FINALLY Pulls Miley Cyrus Jewelry Over Cadmium Concerns.

Yes, Walmart is in the news, again, for selling Miley Cyrus-brand jewelry that reportedly contains high levels of the toxic chemical cadmium.

Back in January, the Associated Press published the results of an investigation that showed some jewelry items sold at Walmart and other retailers were as much as 91 percent cadmium by weight.

The issue is making fresh headlines this week because in April, AP sent reporters to eight Walmart stores throughout the country to see if the contaminated pieces were still for sale. According to AP, all but one of the 13 tainted items remained on store shelves.

These items were tested, and of 61 total samples, 59 contained at least five percent cadmium by weight. 53 measured 10 percent or higher cadmium by weight. (See the full AP article here.)

Long-term exposure to cadmium is linked to a variety of serious health concerns, including cancer, bone softening and kidney failure. In addition, research suggests that it can hinder brain development in young children.

Even so, simply wearing jewelry that contains cadmium is not known to be hazardous. The concern is that children may ingest cadmium by biting or sucking on the jewelry.

In a statement updated today, Walmart reiterated that the Miley Cyrus-brand jewelry is not intended for children, and that it was designed and marketed for older audiences. The company does concede, however, that "it is possible that a few younger consumers may seek it out in stores." As a result, Walmart has pledged to remove all of the jewelry from sale while the company investigates compliance with its children's jewelry standard.

Walmart also reports that in the absence of any U.S. cadmium standard, the company has voluntarily adopted the British Standard Safety of Toys Part 3, the only standard in the world for cadmium in children's products. Earlier this year, Walmart notified its suppliers that all children's jewelry products manufactured after April 9, 2010 must meet this standard.

It's great to see that Walmart has adopted a strict cadmium standard and is taking leadership with regard to toxins in children's products. But, I'm still left wondering why the company didn't take this particular jewelry line off the shelves back in January. Let's face it: the Miley Cyrus fan base consists of young girls and clearly, that's the age group most interested in this product line. Why not err on the side of caution when it comes to keeping children and a corporate reputation healthy?

TAGS: Finance
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